Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, also an item off-stage and crackling with passion, reminded us all over again what a sensationally good idea the male/ female union really is. Ashton has crystallised the world’s most famous love story into a focused economy rather than a boisterous blockbuster.
This risky approach exposes the steps, the music and the performers with no flummery to paper over the cracks. In all honesty, there are very few cracks to be seen. What is startlingly obvious is the heartrending beauty of Sir Frederick’s choreography.
A review from Lyndsey Winship of The Guardian:
The decor is minimal, which might be a tactful way of saying cheap – violet-hued lighting, projected photos of Italianate architecture – and with a small supporting cast it lacks the heft and presence of more lavish productions. You really feel it in the first act, and it's partly down to head count. If you were throwing this Capulet ball you'd be disappointed with the turnout. But what matters in this story is the intimacy and intensity between the central couple, and the closer we get to them, the more powerful it becomes. So why not strip away the window dressing?
Jenny Gilbert weighs in for The Independent:
London audiences have gone bananas over Osipova and Vasiliev during recent summer visits from the Bolshoi. His was the most macho, most passionate, most lionised Spartacus in years, her Kitri in Don Q the most fizzing, her Giselle the most sublime. Rarely are they cast together, though, her long willowy line making a natural match with taller partners. Now, for nine performances only, thanks to canny planning by Denmark's Peter Schaufuss Ballet, they have been able to share the same dressing room. It's a mismatch nonetheless: not the lovers with each other – they're so hot they all but simultaneously combust – but a mismatch of two fiery Russians and an Englishman's choreography, with all its fastidious detail and lyrical restraint.