Reviews of the Mariinsky Ballet in "Romeo and Juliet."
The Russians have every reason to cherish their seminal production of Romeo and Juliet. Choreographed by Leonid Lavrovsky in 1940, the scale and intensity of its storytelling influenced a generation of dancers and choreographers when it was first shown in the west. Yet as it opens the Mariinsky's season, this Romeo and Juliet looks not so much a classic as a very dated relic.
For Londoners used to Kenneth MacMillan’s masterful version for the Royal Ballet, this Romeo and Juliet seems flabbier and hammier — especially smugly arrogant Tybalt (Yuri Smekalov), seemingly modelled on Prince Charming from Shrek, and Vladimir Ponomarev’s theatrical Lord Capulet (even his eyebrows are up to something dastardly).
It’s easy to see why Vishneva is an international star. With her dark eyes, flowing line and a vivid sense of drama, she makes an innocently eager Juliet. Lavrovsky gives Juliet a signature low arabesque position: with Vishneva, the step shines out, clear and lyrical. Her footwork is gleamingly quick and sure.