'Juliet & Romeo', Lost Dog - Linbury Theatre

April 16, 2019

On its tour of the UK, award-winning dance and theatre company Lost Dog brings Juliet & Romeo to the newly refurbished Linbury theatre at the Royal Opera House for a two-show tenure. The numerous accolades of the production are testament to the adage that less is sometimes more. The approximately eighty-minute display is laden with an impressive breadth of raw emotion yet somehow retains remarkable lightness that enchanted everyone in the room.

 

Ben Duke and Solène Weinachter in Lost Dog's Juliet & Romeo ©Jane Hobson

 

Artistic director of the company, Ben Duke, and dancer, Solène Weinachter depict Romeo and Juliet respectively in a brilliant display of their artistic craft, leaving no doubt towards their decorated careers. Their performances were a masterful display of holistic artistry, combining dance, acting and comedy at the very least. The production transposes the iconic characters from the canonical Shakespearean play and positions them as a modern couple desperately seeking solutions for their ailing marriage. Themes of love, loss and tragedy are reconfigured to provide touch points for a contemporary audience, the soundtrack being equally as accessible.

 

The ambience of the production helps to distinguish it from Kenneth MacMillan's production of Romeo and Juliet running simultaneously on the Royal Opera House's Main Stage. An alluring air of intimacy emanates from minimalist staging that repeatedly engaged the audience, honing our gaze masterfully. The lighting design by Jackie Shemesh capitalises on the versatility of the stage and endowed the small stage with a transient grandeur when it needed to.

 

Still, MacMillan himself might have had something to say about the relatively difficult topics the production concerned itself with. Among the more notable of the lot was a discomforting miscarriage but moments like these were tactically dispersed and lingered on for a suitable period of time. Another unsettling quality of the production was a blurring of the temporalities. Juliet and Romeo began by inviting each other into the memories they were therapeutically re-enacting but this courtesy to each other, and signal to the audience, was nowhere to be seen from roughly halfway through the production onwards.

 

Ben Duke and Solène Weinachter in Lost Dog's Juliet & Romeo ©Jane Hobson

 

It is not hard to see why Juliet & Romeo has been received the way it has. The production is refreshing and relatable to audiences, mobilising cultural references by melting them into an epilogue-of-sorts to a Shakespearean masterpiece. Comedy, tragedy and Marvin Gaye. Juliet & Romeo checks all the boxes, and then some!

 

 

Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova, Deputy Digital Editor

Juliet & Romeo - Lost Dog 

Feb 12-13

Linbury Theatre, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

 

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