The tangled love lives of a 1940s ballet company are the source of much amusement in this apt retelling of Shakespeare’s popular comedy.
As the company rehearse Romeo and Juliet, scenes of unrequited love, lust and heartbreak unfold in their own lives. With tensions simmering, they board a train for Edinburgh and find themselves sharing in artistic director Theseus’ colourful dreamworld, full of fairies, magic and love potions. Premier dancer Martha Leebolt was superb as jilted Hermia, delivering moving scenes in the studio and fantastically funny moments with Tobias Batley (Lysander), Pippa Moore (Helena) and Kenneth Tindall (Demetrius). Hironao Takahashi gave a powerful performance as Theseus, while Antoinette Brooks-Daw brought great poignancy to the role of ballerina Hippolyta. Kevin Poeung’s superb performance as Robin Puck featured some stunning solos, while Darren Goldsmith and Guiliano Contadini brought great humour to their parts.
The wonderful set designed by Duncan Hayler changed seamlessly from ballet studio to steam train, cleverly using train compartments on wheels and lighting for motion. The accomplished Northern Ballet Sinfonia, led by music director John Pryce Jones, provided perfect accompaniment to this slick, fluid and enchanting production.