Grease ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year. But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life and find true love once more?

After the release of a certain 1978 film staring Olivia Newton-John and John Trivolta you’d be hard pressed to find a musical theatre fan who hasn’t heard at least one song from Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s Grease. The famous filmic production is based on an original musical theatre production which differs from more than resembles the version of Grease most are familiar with. When transitioning from the original 1971 stage production to film, for example, the setting changed from urban Chicago to sunny California and the film added the songs ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’, ‘You’re the One that I Want’ and ‘Sandy’. Also, whereas it added cut songs ‘Freddy My Love’ and ‘Those Magic Changes’ back into the narrative l, the 2016 Grease Live production starring Aaron Trivet and Vanessa Hudgens has stronger ties to the film adaptation. Between the heavy weight of a beloved reputation and multiple versions to deal from this new Curve touring production has a lot of work to do. I was lucky enough to catch the production on its stop in Cardiff’s Millennium Centre. Now I’m going to be the first to admit that, while I obviously enjoy an occasional watch, I’m not an absolute devotee to the film adaptation. I enjoy the music more than anything and I was excited to hear all of the songs collected into one place after discovering, when watching the 2016 Grease Live production, that I loved the songs cut from the film mentioned above as well as those which made it in. As this production has so many significantly differing versions to draw from I’m going to be reviewing the narrative and it’s transition back into the stage as well as this individual production’s cast and staging.

Continue reading “Grease ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review”

Spookathon TBR Details

So today I’ve decided to do something different! For the past four years I’ve been working towards both my BA and MA in English Literature [Medical Humanities] and I’ve only just finished my final dissertation. As I chose to give myself a break rather than heading straight into my next adventure I’m finally able to participate in my first ever readathon. I love watching vlogs of readathons like the Reading Rush, for example, and I’ve chose Spookathon for my first readathon as it’s hosted by one of my favourite content creators BooksandLala.

The Spookathon announcement went up earlier today and you can watch it below. This is one of the more casual readathons with five reading challenges and maybe some on Instagram but not too many requirements for books to fulfil those challenges. It will be running from the 14th of October to the 20th of October. You can keep up with the content created for Spookathon by using the hashtag on Instagram or by visiting @Spookathon on Twitter. I won’t be vlogging the readathon but I will be doing blog posts to review each book or catalogue any thoughts I have but you can find my live and creative thoughts throughout the week over on my Instagram.

In this first blog I’ll be going through my TBR [To Be Read] pile and explaining just how they fit the challenges and why I’ve chosen them. Some readers choose not to set a strict TBR before the readathon and let their mood take them but the organisational side of my brain just couldn’t resist the idea of lists and sorting out books to be read within the time allowed. Old habits from reading for my degree are dying hard. So, the reading challenges set out in Lala’s video are:

  1. To read a thriller.
  2. To read a book with red on the cover.
  3. To read a book with a spooky word in the title.
  4. To read a book with a spooky setting.
  5. To read something you wouldn’t normally read.

[1] The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

I must admit despite always being willing to read a thriller it was difficult to pick just one out of the blue for the first challenge. However, when I went through my general ‘want to read’ section of Goodreads I found a host recommendation and after reading the blurb I thought it would be perfect. Lala rated The Death of Mrs Westaway four stars and I remember liking the sound of the narrative whilst watching her reading experience in a vlog. As she’s very experienced in reading thrillers in particular and the narrative sounded intriguing I decided that this would be a good place to start.

The Death of Mrs Westaway follows Hal Westaway who receives a letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance upon the death of the elderly Mrs Westaway. Something is wrong, however, as Hal’s own grandparents have been dead for twenty years. Needing the money, she finds herself at the funeral and beginning the process of claiming the inheritance but it soon dawns on her that there is something very wrong with this strange situation.

As I mentioned above I’m always up to reading a thriller or horror novel but this one sounds like it should be able to balance life altering stakes with a calmer surrounding than others due to the centrality of inheritance. Most reviews which I’ve glanced at so far include comparisons to Ware’s other novels, however, I have never read a Ruth Ware book so I intend to go into this one knowing nothing but the general synopsis above or the conventions of Ware’s writing.

[2] The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I. Cannot. Wait. To. Read. This. Book. Actually, I almost didn’t even put it on this TBR just so that I didn’t have to wait until the middle of October to read it. I’ve decided to include it for the challenge to read a book with red on the cover as I’m very likely to sit down to read it and not get up until it’s done which could be helpful when trying to fit it in to the timeframe.

This is another 2018 release thriller which has been described as an incredibly innovative novel requiring nearly all of your brain power to read. The synopsis of this book begins ‘tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again’. Evelyn Hardcastle is the young daughter of the house who is killed as the celebration held at Blackheath culminates in the fireworks overhead. Aiden, one of the guests summonsed to this very party, must solve her murder and until he does the day will repeat itself, over and over again. It ends each time with the fatal pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. However, there are more fantastical elements to this narrative. Each time the day begins Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest.

While the very similarly named Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was dominating the ‘Best of 2018’ lists of many booktubers The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has been named by several publications, including The Guardian, I Paper, Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph, as a Book of the Year. I’m just so intrigued to see how this narrative is going to play out and I really want to sink my teeth into it sooner rather than later. I’m going to be good and wait for the readathon and this should make sure I make it through a big book quicker than I normally would.

*Please note that this book is published under two names. It seems that The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the UK name and in America it is published as The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.*

[3] This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

A theme of this TBR is catching up on books I’ve wanted to read for a longtime and making sure I get them off my general TBR shelf. However, this book is the pinnacle of that. It was published in 2015 and I bought my copy in 2016 so I’ve certainly been waiting a while to just sit down and get it read. I do want to approach this book on its own merits but I can’t deny that I was drawn to it because of my deep rooted love of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I am actually planning to re-read Frankenstien which should happen before this readathon so I will have that in my recent memory but as I said I want to appreciate the ways this book departs from the Frankenstein narrative. I also want to see if any references to the original text do crop up, however, as so many common understandings of the original narrative come from film adaptations for example and are actually not true if you’re only looking at Shelley’s book. Overall I think this book will be a very intriguing read both just as a very fall, halloween themed read but also as one in-keeping with my current research into Frankenstein.

It is set in the same year as Shelley’s original publication of Frankenstein but in Geneva. Men are built with clockwork parts and live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life was shattered as he lost his brother, his sweetheart and his chance to leave Geneva. As he grows more desperate he brings his brother, Oliver, back from the dead but soon discovers that putting together a broken life is more difficult than adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

I’m counting this for the challenge to read something with a spooky word in the title.

[4] A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

At this point I noticed that I have selected three larger books page-wise. I also wasn’t exactly sure what to pick for my spooky setting. So, I looked over my smaller books and found the one with the spookiest setting: a nightmare vision of the entire future. How could a setting get spookier? This future sees the criminals take over the dark and the book follows the teen Alex who talks in an inventive slang that renders his intense reaction against his society.

I have never seen the film adaptation of this novel so, other than a general understanding garnered from top ten book and film lists, I’m going into the exact narrative completely blind. My edition also includes the apparently controversial last chapter and I’m genuinely shocked that I’ve managed to avoid delving deeper into this controversy at all in a research context whilst this books has been on my TBR shelf. Very excited for this but I feel like I’m going to need a breather and a relaxing hobby planned for afterwards.

[5] Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Yes you read that title correctly. Despite loving books for as long as I can remember and studying English Literature for four years… I have never read a single Jane Austen novel. So when I was thinking of something I would never normally read she popped into my head. I had never been planning to give her a try really despite my love of reading classics. I’m not quite sure why I’ve just never been drawn to any of her books. However, as all of my other selections are quite intense heavy books I wanted something I could read intermittently in between as a break or something to get on audiobook in case I end up travelling more than I’ve got planned at the moment. This all seemed to line up best with a novel like Northanger Abbey.

This novel is an easier fit into Spookathon than it may initially appear. As I was looking through Jane Austen’s published works I saw that Northanger Abbey specifically is a Gothic satire as Catherine Morland finds herself believing crimes to be taking place in Northanger Abbey despite her sometime habit of self-delusion. Again I’m going into this quite blind but I think this will be the perfect in-between novel keeping me on theme but giving my brain at least a little break between the intense reads above.

So there we have it! That’s my TBR for Spookathon 2019. Remember the readathon is running between October 14th and 20th.

You can follow my in-depth reviews here or on my Goodreads account: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/83424031-vicky-lord

However, if you want quick updates on my progress throughout the week I’ll be updating my Instagram stories very often: @Vickylrd

You can also follow BooksandLala’s YouTube, Twitter and Instagram and the official Twitter account for Spookathon.

Annie: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

I will never deny that my love of musical theatre developed from an early age with the assistance of many filmed musicals and movie-musicals. One of these was certainly the 1999 musical movie Annie distributed by the Walt Disney Company. While many people I’ve met since have assured me of their devotion to the subsequent 1982 film production, it cannot be denied that it is Charles Strouse’s music and Martin Charnin’s lyrics which draw people back to either of the film productions made of Annie or the original musical. Premiering on Broadway in 1977, Annie is proving its status as an established classic by touring the UK again following the 2017 West End revival stint. I was lucky enough to be invited to the press night at the Wales Millennium Centre to see this well-beloved show live for the first time. This review will discuss this production in particular and its treatment and direction of the known characters and narrative.

Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks

For the show I attended the role of Annie was played by Mia Lakha and the children’s cast was played by The Chrysler Company (one of the three cast rotations for the young girls portraying the other orphans). They are all adorable and very talented for their ages especially with the choreography, but more on that further down. The true heart and warmth of the show was revealed to be the threesome between Lakha’s Annie, Alex Bourne’s Daddy Warbucks and Carolyn Maitland’s Grace Farrell. Both Bourne and Maitland bring an air of effortless grace to their scenes. They build the relationship between their characters subtly, particularly in an adorable moment at the end of ‘N.Y.C’, but the ultimate payoff is as satisfying as if this show was a straight romance. However, they shine individually in the tenderness and emotion shining through ‘Something Was Missing’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything but You’ and the reprise of ‘Maybe’ between Annie and Grace Farrell. Add in the tiny package of optimism, heart and surprising grounding of Lakha’s Annie and the central familial group easily becomes the key aspect of this show.

As I mentioned above, the 1999 film adaptation of Annie was one consistently featured especially at Christmas time. Due to this, as soon as they began to sing ‘N.Y.C’ and the set reflected the warmth in Bourne’s voice all of the nostalgia flooded back. Personally, this song was a highlight of this show as the combination of the best assets including this trio, the lighting creating the warm nostalgic mood and the set representing the bustling city.

Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan

Craig Revel Horwood did not disappoint as Miss Hannigan. You can see the length of time he has spent in the role and his establishment of his interpretation of the character. The advancements he makes in the character are easily his dancing skills, as would be expected. However, this show is very heavy on stunning choreography and Horwood’s skill in executing this within his character mean that her dance breaks in particular do not clash with the character interpretation. He also has quite the impressive powerful voice especially for ‘Little Girls’ which fitted perfectly alongside his portrayal of Miss Hannigan’s damaged anger and despair at her position. However, along with some of the children’s cast, he is a victim of a significant loss of diction and impactful lines whilst maintaining the accent necessary for Annie.

My primary issue came with the insubstantial direction taken with Miss Hannigan. I must admit I do like a good antagonist and there simply isn’t any antagonist in this production of Annie. However, there are hints of one in Miss Hannigan which I feel could have been developed or at least simply moved between two points in the narrative to add a level of stakes in Annie’s possible return to the orphanage and justify er downfall. I understand the primary audience for this show, but this production does include Miss Hannigan going to hit one of the orphans but stopping herself very quickly and the moment or urge is never mentioned again despite it fitting with her character construction in every way. It is entirely believable. However, her downfall is very quick and simple and I just feel that if this moment had been repeated or referenced in the her final scene then it would have added some weight to both the character and narrative. I believe this may have been a point more of directing than acting choice but I believe that a choice like this which can impact the character so heavily shouldn’t have been only half done.

I feel that this production is a very good treatment of Annie as an older musical being produced in 2019. However, I do feel that the story and the movement between each scene and action, particularly Annie’s actions, should have been considered in greater detail. In this particular version of Annie each scene and event feels very episodic to the point of it becoming jarring. This did not effect the individual songs or the content of each scene but, for example, the scene which Annie spends with the homeless feels entirely disconnected from even the scene directly following it. This is indicative of Annie‘s script and the way in which it was original written which cannot be changed or avoided in its current form. However, in terms of character development and even the technical scene changes this production could have done more to bring these scenes into a more cohesive show.

I did appreciate that this production is far more informed by the economic background or the story but does so through the eyes of the child, demonstrated to its fullest extend during ‘Cabinet Tomorrow’. The subtlety of the show being told from Annie’s perspective whilst appearing to be a straight representation of her life could explain the episodic nature as childhood memories are often separated in a similar way. This really is a personal preference and dependent on both your knowledge of the show and reason for seeing the show. This show is great as a gateway for children to begin seeing musicals which is exactly what it should be and if your are a fan of the show you will enjoy it. However, I don’t think it hits the same sweet spot as some other introductory but major musicals, such as Matilda or the Disney productions, where the enjoyment of the story and wider production are entirely equal between both child and adult accompanying them.

Nick Winston’s choreography and Ben Cracknell’s lighting design come together perfectly. Firstly the choreography generally is an absolute treat to watch and the ensemble, both child and adult, are insanely talented dancers. The lighting comes in for the most impactful moves and lyrics which certainly assists in balancing the relatively poor diction unfortunately caused by the necessity of the accents. Hearing a child behind me say ‘wow’ as the traditional straight dance break came up during ‘N.Y.C’ was very adorable and a perfect insight into what a simply staged but brilliantly executed dance break can accomplish.

Colin Richmond’s set and costume designs also show the level of detailed simplicity of this show. As much as I wish it was more of a reveal, the use of the New York map across the back of the stage as Warbucks muses on the big city lit softly was a very special but tiny moment in this show that shows exactly why is has been so loved and why it will continue to be loved by both audiences and theatrical professionals. I also loved the dedication to theatricality as, instead of using comically large set pieces or ensemble pushed cars for the taxis instead they were portrayed through lighting and two excellent dancers in yellow tops. It’s just little things like this which brought an instant smile to my face as you can see the effort and thought behind them.

With brilliant members of the cast making up for some of the directional decisions and their enforced lack of diction in an intricate set and lighting plot this show is a perfect introduction to musical theatre for the younger members of the audience, exactly as it should be. However, while this production does justice to its material some adults who remember the musical from their childhoods may be caught off guard by the episodic feeling of the narrative and insubstantiality of some characters. If you want an evening away from the world, a nostalgic trip and have the feeling of crisp Christmas in August this touring production of Annie could be exactly what you’re looking for.

⭐⭐⭐

Annie is currently running at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 31st of August and you can purchase your tickets here. It will then continue on tour across the UK until November 2019 and you can see the later dates here.

Please comment below or get in touch via my social media below:

My business email: vickylordreview@gmail.com

My social media is:

Twitter: @Vickylrd4

Facebook: @Vickylordwriter

Instagram: @vickylrd

The Lady Vanishes: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

No one can deny that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the greatest directors or the much loved and admired status of his creations. Often thought of as his first major successful film, his big break you may say, The Lady Vanishes was released in 1939. It has now been adapted for the stage by the Classic Thriller Theatre Company and I was lucky enough to catch it at Cardiff’s New Theatre yesterday. I am highly aware of the film as members of my family has also watched it and, due to the nature as an adaptation, I will be referring to it especially in the case of the adaptation of the narrative.

Ranking 36th in the British Film Institute’s list of best British films of the 20th century, The Lady Vanishes follows Iris, a socialite, who is travelling by train to England for her wedding. Due to an accident she is introduced to the mild-mannered Miss Froy. After falling asleep, Iris is puzzled on waking to find that all of the passengers deny her companion’s presence completely. Iris turns detective and, with the help of Max, they are drawn to discover why the lady had vanished (adapted from Cardiff’s New Theatre).

Despite being set in a closed circle and one similar to more ensemble prices like Murder on the Orient Express, in this production the characters are far more individualised than they may appear. The opening scene does set them off into their pairs of high continue to hold until the very final scenes, however I found singular characters growing on me rather than the pair as a whole. In my experience, I found that I grew warmer to these individual characters without too much explanation from the plot other than an appreciation of the portrayal put forth by the actors. It’s a strange experience finding yourself liking a character without having too many reasons to explain it but it’s quite a human one and a feeling not too far removed from Iris’ feelings towards Max and those he returns to her as they transition from callous bitter commuters into partners.

I found myself warming to Lorna Fitzgerald’s Iris and Matt Barber’s Max more and more as the play went on and that’s exactly as it should be. Neither begins the play as the most likeable of people but both the characters and actors come into their own, and their best, when they are working together with common beliefs which allows more chemistry to develop between the two. I do also need to give a shout out to Barber’s realisation acting during the second act which stood out as an absolute highlight.

Charters and Caldicott are two of the most famous parts from Hitchcock’s film and Robert Duncan and Ben Nealon certainly lived up to the detailed comedic reputation. Elizabeth Payne also provides a stand out performance as Margaret (and Frau Kummer) And again I found myself warming to her throughout the excellently witty short dialogue.

Juliet Mills literally stars as Miss Froy. She has surprisingly little but to see what she does with the role is incredibly interesting. Again you’re drawn to her immediately but this time through her friendly characteristics and charm and also the intrigue surrounding her. Unfortunately, the big scene in which this intrigue comes full circle and is fulfilled is marred significantly in this production, as discussed below, so it may mar some people’s opinion of the character. However in the final scene Mills builds all this intrigue and wonder back up without a single word.

And initial appeal of this production is its setting on a train and in the correlating stations. The set is overall a very simple but effective one with the highlight coming as the two sectors join together to make the train carts. Ingeniously realist sliding doors create apartments which can be closed, concealing the occupants, immediately add to the mystery. Unfortunately, other than these compartments there was not much else to be gained from the set itself other than the closed characteristics of having to pass by the other occupants of the train. Aspects which could have been used to raise tension, such as the possibility of Miss Froy’s and reappearing on the glass or the emergency stop, feel like they are never implemented to their fullest potential.

The script, and as a result the narrative, is surprisingly simplistic. This is especially regarding the setting of occupied Austria and the presentation of the Nazi occupation leading up to the Second World War. Obviously, this period in history is very well known but the implementation in this narrative just felt quite black and white and lacking the nuance that hindsight could have added to this adaptive production of the original film.

This production does attempt to deviate slightly from the film in the replacement of the folk singer with an accordion-playing never in the train station. However, the death of the Folk singer is also removed and the clear threats present in this segment are removed entirely. Due to these alterations and the script as a whole, the steaks of the narrative are at a rock bottom level for the majority of the production and even the whole of the first act. They are only raised slightly when Iris panicked at Miss Froy’s disappearance in the middle of the first act. However, the true stakes of life and death which have, apparently, permeated the narrative up until this point are not introduced until the middle of the second act. I did enjoy watching the plot points come together, however, I believe this may have been due to my knowledge of the film as the first scene felt quite slow in terms of pace so I can imagine that the watching experience may be different for someone coming to the story from a completely blind perspective.

The sound mixing and directorial decisions surrounding this also felt completely off. The cast varied between lines which were shouting and softly spoken within individual roles which made their conversations clash in volume and delivery. However, the main issue comes in the amount of the overly loud pop guns used. The scene in which they are used is the height of the tension, drama and one in which the most story details are revealed. It’s even the best scene for the cast to sink their teeth into to fully show their talents in bringing these characters and their motives to life. However, what this production delivered was a scene filled with loud pop gun noises which became flatly annoying, especially as the far more palatable background gun noise was used in the exact same scene. The noises of the pop guns became highly irritating and covered most of the vital important dialogue and it also made a vital plot point far less believable. If the noises of these pop guns were saved for impactful moments then I would understand far more, however, this scene combined with the black and white implication of the wider narrative soured both the believability and the exact impactful moments required to make everything pay off.

Therefore, The Lady Vanishes held a lot of intriguing and excitement as I went into it. However, the adaptation of the narrative and attempts to divert from the film misfired and caused a confusing and irritating main scene which caused an unbelievability to major aspects of the plot. I would highly recommend seeing this production for the portrayals from the cast. Each of them is highly dedicated and allow you to warm to most characters who, otherwise would, seem quite one-note. They are the life and breath of this production and make it a far more enjoyable experience.

The Lady Vanishes is running at Cardiff’s New Theatre until the 20th of July and you can book your tickets here!

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

Brett Morris describes Prokofiev’s ballet score for Romeo and Juliet as “arguably the greatest romantic ballet score of the 20th century”. Matthew Bourne, on the other hand, has chosen to emphasise the tragedy of Shakespeare’s classic love story as he supplants the tale from fair Verona into an institution in the not too distant future. Bourne is well known for his eclectic imagination as applied to the most classic ballets, the most famous of which is his all-male ensemble adaptation of Swan Lake.

This latest venture is no exception at all to the wildness and brilliance of the adaptive magic that is the New Adventures repertoire. This new production is currently touring the UK and I was lucky enough to be invited to the press night at the Wales Millennium Centre yesterday evening. Personally, I count myself as a fan of ballet and I’ve just finished studying the narrative of the original Romeo and Juliet as written by Shakespeare. Due to this, my review will focus on this performance at hand but will also discuss the narrative of Bourne’s adaptation as well as the dancing as the two cannot realistically be isolated.

Above I have included the cast list for the performance which I attended. Andrew (Andy) Monaghan [Romeo] and Seren Williams [Juliet] encapsulate the switch which occurs between the backgrounds and attitudes fo Romeo and Juliet from the original play. In Bourne’s adaptation Romeo’s parents, Senator and Mrs Montague, are the only remnants from the original Montague/Capulet rivalry. They are also, now, the parents who must ‘do something’ with their child by sending him to the institution of the setting, rather than Lord and Lady Capulet who attempted to pass their daughter off in marriage while Romeo and his friends flitted in and out of parties with no parents in sight. Following this, in this new production Juliet is now independent of all family name and relation and has been in the institution, and is more unfortunately experienced of its ways, than Romeo.

There are many changes like this which uphold the original narrative, the balcony pas de deux, the conflicts and the deaths familiar to the audience are still intact, but which drastically refresh the narrative. For example, Juliet is not only more active but also more present taking part and even a lead in the majority of the major points of the narrative. Personally, I loved many of these changes and I wish I could discuss them in detail but I won’t for the risk of spoilers. What I will say, however, is that in this new production Juliet’s suicide is re-worked into not only an act of young true love for the sake of the man she has, in most productions, just met but a release of her efforts, attempts and sufferings.

Due to many of the new features I have mentioned above, Juliet is the stand out character of this show. This was due to the effortless and amazing combination of the reworked narrative and Williams’ interpretation of the choreography which makes said narrative come to life. I just couldn’t stop watching her throughout the show. She upheld Juliet’s movements with a delicate balance of suffering and strength which ultimately characterised her Juliet as one, especially if allowed to thrive in a different setting or aloud a happier conclusion, not to be crossed. Her performance is one that I will not forget any time soon. This does run the risk of her Romeo becoming slightly overshadowed, however, Monaghan ensures that this is not the case as he seemingly effortlessly literally supports Williams throughout the performance.

This ballet is one which defies expectation. As I mentioned above, the Montague/Capulet rivalry is no longer present. Initially the segregation between the girls and boys in the institution and the opening music of the Dance of the Knights, which is heard throughout and almost becomes re-characterised as a theme for Romeo and Juliet’s attempted defiance, lead you to believe that this will be the new seemingly clean cut divide and conflict. It soon becomes clear, however, that this is not the case. There is not a clean cut divide anywhere. There is a cut conflict between the inhabitants and the guards of the institution but this is representative of the wider divide between the loveless, Tybalt the guard [Danny Reubens] no longer related to Juliet but instead her sexual abuser taking advantage of the captivity of the girls and Romeo’s parents who work and pay more to ensure Romeo remains within the institution, and those, namely Romeo and Juliet but also Mercutio and his boyfriend Balthasar [played to full excitement by Ben Brown and Asher Rosenheim respectively], who fight or simply take their opportunity to love. This products shows a seemingly simple way to place a narrative inti a complete different setting and actually reworks the narrative itself to fit and it certainly pays off.

As much as I wish I could go into more detail, as I have said, I think this production is one where spoilers should be avoided at all costs before seeing it. Well, apart from the ending which we all know will happen as addressed by the show itself which begins with the same image of the ending. I will end with that this is the mist traduces leaning in the narrative of a Romeo and Juliet that I have seen but this does not come at the cost of the sweet moments and the love present between the leads. The balcony scene, as it should be, remains a highlight in which the even the breath of the dancers is incorporated.

I would strongly recommend this production not only for those highly familiar with either original narrative or ballet but also for those who are curious to see another adaptation of one of the most famous generalised narratives in the English language. The youth and highly refined skill of the dancers also ensures a feeing of support surrounding this excellent production at the heart of the company itself and not just this one show. I can guarantee that you will leave this show taking about the story and the dancers for the rest of the night. If you’re looking for a highly imaginative, intelligent and intriguing adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and/or an excellent fresh new ballet from one of our greatest creative minds this is where to find it.

Romeo + Juliet is running at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 22nd of June and you can book your tickets here. It will then be continuing on its tour of the UK.


Please comment below or get in touch via my social media below:

My business email: vickylordreview@gmail.com

My social media is:

Twitter: @Vickylrd4

Facebook: @Vickylordwriter

Instagram: @vickylrd

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