Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet Is Electrifying.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet shows, once again, why the man is a genius. Updating the classic Shakespearean tragedy that we all know and love, Bourne creates a piece that is exhilarating and shocking. By turns it is both sexy and romantic, violent yet sensuous and brutal and tender. With it’s subverted ending, it is also, in line with Shakespeare, the most heartbreaking thing you will see in theatre this year. It is simply stunning.

The action has moved from Italy, to the deliberately ambiguous Vernon’s Institute. What is it? The inmates (for that is what they seem to be), are all young people, and all wear white, which could lead you to believe it is some sort of hospital or institution, maybe an approved school for those who don’t confirm. Juliet (Cordelia Braithwaite – incredible) is already at the institution, being abused by Tybalt (Adam Galbraith), transformed here into an institute guard. When Romeo(Paris Fitzpatrick) appears (with his rich and important  parents, he is, quite literally climbing the walls), the stage is set for one of the great tragic love stories of all time.

The choreography is nothing short of incredible. It moves from the tight, sharp moves when the cast enter holding chairs, to the fluidity and romance of Romeo and Juliet’s first pas de deux. There are contrasts within a single scene, look at the dancing in front of the ‘staff’ during the institute ‘dance’, compared yo the sultry, sensuous moves once the staff have departed. The final scenes manage to be both beautiful and elegant, and yet totally wretched, a tribute to the stunning performances of Paris Fitzpatrick and Cordelia Braithwaite as Romeo and Juliet.

Matthew Bourne has taken Romeo and Juliet and left us with all the recognised elements, whilst creating something that is a standalone modern classic. The incredible Prokofiev score still sounds perfect even in the modern setting of the bleak, sterile institute, and, if anything, the story takes on an even more tragic twist due to the new plight of its key protagonists.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet is brutally brilliant, an absolute must see.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 21st October.

Click here for ticket information


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