Romeo & Juliet is not a love story.
It’s a three-day relationship between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old that resulted in six deaths.
Everyone who actually read it
Well, a story about near pedophilia that walks over bodies and ends in a double suicide. (To be fair, in this ballet version, Mercutio and Tybalt die on stage, and of course so do Romeo and Juliet, but neither the deaths of Paris nor of Lady Montague were shown, so here it’s only four deaths). And yup, I read the story as well, the Sparknotes «No Fear Shakespeare» version with the original text on the left side and a modern annotated translation on the right. Otherwise I would miss too much. It’s not my favorite Shakespeare story, that is «Taming of the Shrew», which comes in at least two very beautiful/sexy ballets. Perhaps followed by «Henry V», the Kenneth Branagh version.
Romeo and Juliet … hmmm, never really resonated with me. And not only because Romeo is «about sixteen» and Juliet is thirteen. But yeah, they have to be that young to be that stupid.
Strangely enough, as a ballet, that works very well. The Neumeier version in Hamburg was impressive. The stars — and lots of dancers on the stage — were rather young, which fit the story beautifully. Impressive facial expressions, esp. by Juliet and by the courtesan in part one and two, but also by lots of other dancers. Juliet especially fits the role of a … well, innocent girl very well. Costumes are beautiful as well. Well, with perhaps one blue dress as an exception — color is too light, you see sweat stains. And if someone wears glasses it’s insanely distracting, at least if they are modern ones. I mean, they use rapiers, that’s definitely pre modern plastic glasses. Hmm, and the conductor was standing to high — you could see his hair and — more annoyingly — his stick. And movement attracts attention.
But these were only small distractions. Overall it was time well spend. Beautiful and fitting performance with lots of action on the stage — very hard to pay attention to everything that happens.
So, yeah, a recommendation, with perhaps some room to grow.