Tits fall brings a true harvest of Romeo and Juliet. Ben Duke’s ingenious reimagining of Lost Dog Dance returns in November, both Royal ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform the well-known MacMillan version in October, when the Birmingham company will also present the 2005 version of Edward Clug, Radio and Juliet. But first off the branch is a new Rosie Kay creation, originally planned in 2015, developed through stints of working with local schools as well as West Midlands Police and now, several closings later, finally on stage.
With this long gestation and interrupted rehearsals, it’s perhaps not surprising that both the part and the production still feel a bit uneven. The opening scene in particular is a torrent of activity with no clarity of purpose: an accumulation of nine dancers who, with their stops, groupings, and scatters, cleverly suggests the unstable and contested nature of their terrain, but neglects to set the characters before dispatching them. . in action. We recognize them as rival gangs in an urban setting: pylons and satellites frame the scene, and both the postures and the clothing are remarkably “street”, but we have doubts about who is who or what drives their fierce gesticulations.
However, once the lovers meet, the narrative finds both its heart and its rhythm. Romeo (Subhash Viman Gorania) and Juliet (Mayowa Ogunnaike) are very contrasting dancers: he has quick turns and leans more flexible, she is more forceful and compact, and their duet, instead of overcoming their differences, serves more to align them to through mirrored sweeps of his arms, leadership changes, and impulse-and-response exchanges. News of their encounter ricochets between the gangs like sparks through a circuit, and Kay composes her anxiety brilliantly, alternating between blasts and frost, maintaining the intensity of the pressure cooker until the very end.
The music alternates haunting modern electronics from a regular Kay contributor. Annie Mahtani with the extended drama of Berlioz’s symphonic drama Roméo et Juliette. The mix is powerful at times, blending urban freshness with romantic excess, contemporary with traditional, but sometimes jarring, and Berlioz can lean the action toward silent film melodrama. However, the mix itself is a piece with the production as a whole, loosely hybridizing hip-hop with classical Indian and contemporary dance. Styles flow naturally from the same young multi-ethnic dancers of diverse backgrounds; Gorania, most surprising, combines them all in a kind of polyglot physical presence.
That diversity of cast and choreography means that there is no distinctive identity that separates the gangs. Fortunately, this moves rivalry away from race (as with the Jets and Sharks) or heritage (as with the Capulets and Montagues) and points to other factors: peer pressure, drug dealing, ambition, misunderstandings.
There is a clamor for ideas in this production, and Kay may try to pack too much in her 75 minutes; however, his youthful urgency, his energy and his great excitement come home.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism