It’s the greatest love story of all time, William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet. Always a popular story for dance companies to interpret due to the passion and tragedy of the narrative and now Rasta Thomas adds himself to that list through his eclectic take on the classic.
The diverse nature of the work is a theme that runs throughout. It is not set in any same time period. Costumes vary from the 1600’s to modern day and the work prides itself on fusing ballet with hiphop. We have seen this done before by the likes of ENB and Flawless collaborating in 2012 with Against Time and Swan Lake Reloaded in 2013 at the London Coliseum. But what sets Adrienne Canternas choreography aside from these past attempts is the cast of multi talented dancers who are just at ease in a classical pas de deux as they are locking and popping. At no point do you ever feel awkward watching the dancers. They give justice to every dance style performed and leave you amazed at the versatility of their talent.
The work starts by introducing each character using a video projection at each dancers entrance. There is a clear understanding of gangs between the Montagues and Capulets. The Montagues are dressed in loose and pale1980’s inspired outfits where as the Capulets are dressed head to toe in biker gear, including skintight leopard print leggings! The state-of-the-art architectural lighting adds a real va-va-voom to the work and is used to guide the audience on the stories emotional rollercoaster. This ease in storytelling is perfect for a Shakespeare novice or a younger audience member who is new to the story.
Each scene is clearly defined through change of music and projection however the flow from scene to scene often felt jolted and forced with tracks ending abruptly. The fusion of music to reflect the fusion of dance styles is a great idea but rather than using classical and contemporary music mixes, each track is used in its singular form and this disrupted the continuity of the work.
The stage transitions may not have been flawless but Adrienne Canternas performance of Juliet certainly was. The choreographer/performer’s commitment to the role was so believable. She is convincing as a young naive girl following her heart over her head. Not only was her acting superb but also, as a dancer, she is mesmerizing with immaculate versatility switching from classical to hiphop continuously in many scenes.
The story of Romeo and Juliet is portrayed in a simplistic manner but will leave you in awe of the talent on stage. A great show for all the family to enjoy.
15th March 2015: Author – I.P. Dincwear Team