Sometimes I think we are very spoilt as an audience. We are a saturated market place. Shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, Broadway hits such as Aladdin and films such as Step Up, make dancing look easy. Take one part rhythm, two parts charisma, add jazz hands and stir. We think, ‘It looks easy. They make it seem easy. Therefore, it must be easy.’ And if there isn’t some kind of gymnastic component…. well… it’s just boring.

Wrong.

The Melbourne City Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet at The Sydney Fringe this year was delightful. The story telling was simple – it has to be when Shakespeare seems to spend his time overlapping families and feuds, young love and death. The play spans three days. They meet, they marry, they die. And yet, I found myself, knowing the story and still very much engaged in the action on stage.

Michael Pappalardo, the Artistic Director, showed great mastery in maintaining the fine balance between, artistry, storytelling and technique. Characters relationships were clearly established and yet the performers were given space to add the distinct characterisations that were necessary in order to enrol the audience in the plight of young love. This is a big touring company and stage space was tight.

There was great chemistry between the leads. Carolina Pais was enchanting as the innocent, ever- optimistic Juliet and Tynan Wood was charismatic and engaging as the love struck Romeo. Matt Dillon was also a standout with his comical, sidekick buffoonery.

This is a touring production and congratulations should be given for what Melbourne City Ballet has been able to achieve with the funding they have been given. It would be a wonderful opportunity to watch a beautiful ballet without the regular high costs associated with seeing some art forms.

Congratulations Melbourne City Ballet. You are on your way.

Lee Anderson – Theatre Now