Review: English National Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet is ‘mesmerising’

PUBLISHED: 12:18 15 October 2015 | UPDATED: 14:38 15 October 2015

Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet.

©Bill Cooper

THE English National Ballet has landed at Bristol’s Hippodrome with its mesmerising performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Mercury reporter Briana Millett went to the opening night…

"Isaac Hernández and Alina Cojocaru were making their debuts in the roles of Romeo and Juliet but you would never have guessed it – they were the perfect young lovers"

Having never been to a ballet before (Billy Elliot is as close as I have ever got) I was half filled with excitement and half nervous that I would not quite ‘get it’ – but get it I did, and enthralled I was.

The tale of Romeo and Juliet is one everybody knows and the English National Ballet told it through Rudolph Nureyev’s choreography, which was created for the company in 1977.

Isaac Hernández and Alina Cojocaru were making their debuts in the roles of Romeo and Juliet but you would never have guessed it – they were the perfect young lovers. Their performances were full of emotion, showing the care-free state of young love before heartbreak and raw emotion took over.

For me, one of the highlights was Cesar Corrales’ performance as Mercutio – another role debut – as he brought a sprinkling of comedy to the show, but the performance seemed effortless for all of the dancers – as they pirouetted around the stage and leaped metres at a time I felt lazy for complaining about a 10 minute walk to my car parking space…

Romeo and Juliet.Romeo and Juliet.

As well as wishing my mother had taken me to ballet school, I also cursed myself for giving up the violin as the orchestra made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up from the very first note.

The company’s music director Gavin Sutherland conducted the orchestra – an ensemble so large six rows of seating had to be removed from the stalls to make room.

The no-expense-spared set was designed by Ezio Frigerio and transforms you into the heart of Verona, and paired with the romantic costumes you will be planning a trip to Italy by the end of the ballet. The mixture of sultry silk dresses and rich velvet gowns did not look like the easiest costumes to dance in, but they showed off the beauty of the ballet perfectly.

The performance is a long one (about two-and-a-half hours by my count) but there are two intervals to stretch your legs, and I found the time flew from start to finish.

Whether you are a hardened ballet fan, or a newbie like me, I would highly recommend that, without further ado, you head to Bristol’s Hippodrome to see this spectacular production.

The English National Ballet: Romeo And Juliet will be at the Bristol Hippodrome, in St Augustine’s Parade, from today (Thursday) until Saturday. There will be performances at 7.30pm each night and a 2.30pm performance on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets, priced £11.90-48.90, are available from the box office on 08448 713012 or online via

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