Stephanie Zappala Bryant was one of the winners of our Citizen Reviewer competition. She attended Romeo & Juliet at the Victorian Arts Centre to check out the performances of two Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominees, Brett Chynoweth and Rudy Hawkes. Here’s what she thought…
Mercutio’s death is a big deal. After his demise, Death touches the star-crossed youths for the first time. If Mercutio had lived, maybe Romeo and Juliet would have ended up arguing over the benefits of Billy vs Expedit like the rest of us.
Brett Chynoweth’s Mercutio is debonaire and mischievous, reaping plenty of laughs with his sword-play and cheeky antics. It’s no mean feat to die gracefully, with Mercutio’s charm and melancholic resignation, and Chynoweth performs it splendidly. He imbues Mercutio’s pivotal final moments with stirring pathos.
Murphy’s gestural language for the Corps, including Rudy Hawkes, captures the menace of Verona’s discord. Hawkes is a memorable dancer; clean, bold and magnetic. He performs the highly technical choreography beautifully; his strength accentuating the thorny tension bubbling at the masquerade ball, and his charismatic style suited to the buoyant, colourful foreign bazaar.
This universal love story is layered with exotic flavours and faraway places, reinventing Romeo and Juliet as a sweeping intercontinental epic, complete with romantic carpet-ride.