Romeo and Juliet – Moscow City Ballet – On Tour

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Moscow City Ballet are celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a tour that features four ballets all running in rep across various venues. Whilst not one of the most polished companies on the circuit MCB must possibly be one of the hardest working. Where they stand head and shoulders above the rest is the way in which they make traditional ballet, complete with an orchestra, really accessible to everyone and at a ticket price that is within reach of the masses. Something that cannot be said for many of our larger English companies even with their huge public subsidies.

This Romeo and Juliet might look a bit shabby around the edges but is danced with energy and passion. With choreography by company founder Victor Smirnov-Golovanov the story is told well enough even if it lacks imagination on occasions. Some nice touches enhance things however such as the Death Spectres that hauntingly surround each of the doomed quartet that lose their lives. The devouring of each death is superb and chilling.

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Yulia Zhuravleva dances Juliet with a lovely grace and elegance. Credit to her also for coping with the man handling that she has to endure in the final and emotive death scenes with Talgat Kozhabev as her Romeo. Kanat Nadyrbeck shows flashes of brilliance in his dancing as a muscular but light footed Tybalt with a light and personality filled performance from Andrey Zhuravlev as Mercutio.

The thirty piece orchestra ably conducted by Igor Shavruk generally contend well with the thrilling Prokofiev score with only a few moments where you feel that they may be a little out of their depth. With a set that consists of just a few cloths that look as though they have been rolled up and put in the back of a transit van one too many times this is a functional and enjoyable evening of solid performance from a company that do a sterling job at making sure anyone can go and see classical ballet.

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