Reviews of the Peter Schaufuss Ballet in "Romeo and Juliet."
The Arts Desk
But the couple's determination to master Ashton has its own heroic quality – and where they succeed, they are transcendent. Osipova flits though Juliet's opening scene with a vulnerable recklessness; in the balcony pas de deux the passion of their dancing scales every romantic climax in Prokofiev's score; and both allow everything to play out in their faces and eyes.
The Financial Times
Graham Bond and the ENB Orchestra provided a brisk, matter-of-fact musical performance, so I didn’t mind losing so much of the music as to keep the action to well under two hours (plus interval). Though Ashton later restored some, and made ensemble dances for the 1985 London Festival Ballet production he did with Peter Schaufuss, then LFB artistic director and star, Schaufuss has reverted to the sparer bones of the 1955 original. The one dance it hurts my memory not to see here is the pre-wedding wake-up Mandolin Dance outside Juliet’s room while she lay in her drugged stupor, the carefree entertainers underscoring the pain of the tragic misunderstandings about to take place.
Ashton’s manner is modest, classically exact, demanding that finesse in performance that made him a lyric poet in dance, and I find it now at odds with the urgencies of its score. This Schaufuss revival is thin, its minimal design no more than a flight of stairs and a series of dull black and white projections to suggest locale. Verona is seriously under-populated, the plague on both houses having taken a terrible toll: the town can muster only a seething mob of 10 inhabitants beside its aristos who, at Tuesday night’s gala, were such visiting luminaries as Stephen Jefferies and Marguerite Porter, both admirable as Juliet’s parents.
(with video clip)
Vasiliev and Osipova – emphatically “Bolshoi” (or “big”) dancers both – dive into their roles with an untrammelled vigour that, especially in her case, sometimes strays into a rather Russian, very un-Ashtonian melodrama. I’d have liked a slightly greater sense of hesitation from her at the ballroom, a subtler sense of being torn both ways, as well as a fraction more holding back in her pivotal Act 3 decision-making scene.