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Moscow City Ballet: Romeo & Juliet / The Nutcracker @ Richmond Theatre

| Dance, Theatre | 04/03/2014

Moscow City Ballet

Romeo and Juliet

Rich in symbolism, the traditional setting of Romeo and Juliet proves intensely theatrical if minus the (indeed traditional) balcony scene, its jewel-like palette a feast for the eyes. The fantastic fight scenes build to dazzling sword-fights in glittering array, armour flashing in the spotlights, with a particularly striking performance by Kanat Nadyrbeck as Tybalt. Prokofiev’s score is performed exquisitely; the ‘Montagues and Capulets’ guaranteed to raise hairs. Maestro Igor Shavruk conducts with both passion and control.

Yuliya Zhuravleva’s early solo as the fluttering dove-like Juliet enchants as she herself becomes enrapt in the scarlet that signifies her fate. Masks are lost in flashes of colour and despite overriding tragedy there’s fun to be had here. Romeo is portrayed by a statuesque Talgat Kozhabayev who truly lives the character, no more so than in the first brilliant and beautiful duet. He lifts and spins his partner as if she were paper, their white-clad figures infinite shapes rippling the turquoise stage.

One of many notable stars is Artem Minakov as Mercutio; cheery, cheeky and charming. It couples with balletic bravura and spot-on mime, as shared by the entire cast. Darkening in purplish bloom with tinges of the occult the double death dance is sensational. These gripping scenes are handled gracefully and delicately, particularly by Zhuravleva boasting perfect balance and poise. The final, gothic pageant is indeed a dagger to the heart which is where this memorable production lodges itself.


The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a fairy tale even more suited to the City’s Ballet’s staggering talent. Beyond the impressively perfect formation pieces, the entire cast truly look as if they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves; each routine earning consecutive rounds of applause. This is dance wizardry in histrionic splendour, breathtaking alongside Tchaikovsky’s incredible music. One is totally transported to dreams of childhood; Christmas-card scenes with whorls of snowy-white dancers – and the Snowflakes make an absolute vision.

The stupendous second act outdoes the first: series of tableau accompanied by one great tune after another. Spanish Dancers sizzle, Arabian Dancers flitter, Chinese Dancers rebound into space… smiles on every face. Drosselmeier reappears in a glittering golden frock-coat; Sergei Saliev with an infectious twinkle in his eye. Kanat Nadyrbeck again excels himself combining strength and delicate artistry. Zhuravleva depicts the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ with effortless grace and endless pirouettes like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

And the audience awarded the company the rock-star approval it deserved.

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