Two Ballets by the Peter Schaufuss Ballet Company
Romeo and Juliet Thursday 2.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. Friday at 7.30 p.m.
Swan Lake Saturday 2.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.
I was enchanted by Romeo and Juliet and the young ballet dancers of the Peter Schaufuss Ballet. This production is a revival of Sir Frederick Ashton’s choreography and Prokofiev music, although on tape, is still magical.
This production is minimal when it comes to set, a bare stage with four wide steps at the back leading up to a screen and via the wonders of back production we know where we are, pillars for the Capulet home, a roof top for the balcony scene and a cross and turret for the marriage with the Frier, played by Peter Schaufuss himself.
But there’s is no scrimping when it comes to costumes, delicate pastels for the citizens of Verona, vibrant for the heavy weights of the Montague and Capulet families who are a foil to the young bloods fighting and killing in their vicious feuding, street gangs at war over territory.
When a Montague and a Capulet fall in love however, it’s considered an unacceptable mixed marriage and they are forbidden to see each other. But love has a way and when played out on this stage is gentle and appealing.
All the Ashton moves are there and as they express their emotions in Act Two pas de deux it is breath taking.
Romeo is tall and handsome, strong and caring and must be family as he’s danced by Luke Schaufuss. Juliet is like a neat little graceful moth and ballerina Ryoko Yagyu is a delight to watch; together they are truly star crossed lovers and we care.
Impressive was the scene towards the end when Romeo holds Juliet’s supposedly dead body. In a deep trance it is stiff as if rigor mortis had already set in and how he manages to dance with her in his finger tips brought a tear.
When Juliet awakens from her deep sleep and discovers Romeo has killed himself, her grief is such that she too takes her life by plunging a dagger into her heart and as she lies dying, she tries to reach her love, her fingertips reaching out to him in her despair as she slowly joins him in death.
I imagine that Peter Schaufuss must be the son of Frank Schaufuss who danced the role of Mercutio in Ashton’s 1955 Danish production in which Frank’s wife danced Juliet. Certainly Peter has a gift of taking young people and instilling not only the moves but also the mood into their performance, sometimes a little bit ragged round the edges but totally believable and enjoyable.
Check more Anne Hailes Belfast Times reviews here.
Read our press release about the ballet here.
More Opera House info at www.goh.co.uk