Tyrone and Yaogian

Tyrone Singleton as Romeo and Yaoqian Shang as Juliet in Radio and Juliet Picture: Bill Cooper

Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Hippodrome


Limb by limb and tooth by tooth the suicidal tragedy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is flip reversed as Birmingham Royal Ballet split the Hippodrome stage with the Rosie Kay Dance Company, for a powerful knife-wielding double bill full of intense rivalry igniting heartfelt raw emotion.

Rosie Kay’s Romeo + Juliet kicked off the bill with Romeo’s sharp initiation into the M (Montague) gang squaring up to rival gang the C’s (Capulets). As savagery erupted on the streets of Birmingham against a backdrop of dangerous liaisons and bubbling violence, love blossomed among the drug fuelled frivolity as Romeo (Subhash Viman Gorania) and Juliet (Mayowa Ogunnaike) became entangled as one.

Misunderstanding and fear boiled over, riots exploded across postcodes ending both Ty (David Devyne) and Merc’s (Deepraj Singh) lives, initiated an ever increasing body count to the bitter end.

The juxtaposition between modern cityscape set to a soundtrack by Brummie-based composer Annie Mahtanui and Berlioz’s dramatic symphony allowed for the choreography to reflect the times with hip hop, street contemporary and South Asian dance styles together in a controversial menu.

Phew! And that was just the first Act.


Mayowa Ogunnaike as Juliet and Subhash Viman Gorania as Romeo in Romeo+Juliet Pictures: Brian Slater

Next up was Radio and Juliet by Birmingham Royal Ballet and a definite radical U-turn to the narrative by Romanian-born choreographer, Edward Clug. An incredible introduction to Carlos Acosta’s new season at BRB.

 “No longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows, Nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate, Nothing so childish, At a better place.” Lyrics by Radiohead.

In stark, powerful contrast to Rosie Kay’s version, there is only one female dancer, Yaoqian Shang as Juliet and a cohort of masculine suitors, Tyrone Singleton as Romeo, Kit Holder, Brandon Lawrence, Max Maslen, Gus Payne and Lennert Steegen used to manifest the dystopian vision.

The male line-up in shirtless black suits executed a chilling battle in front of a concrete wall and as barriers collapse, we realise everything is not always black and white. I love the effortless simplicity of the set and the flash of light revealing an inner strength and seamless storytelling.

Set to a Radiohead soundtrack, this is one of the most incredible performances I have ever witnessed. Bulletproof . . . I wish I Was.

BRB Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined on at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday October 16 7.30pm. Call the box office on 08443385000 or online HERE.

Emma Trimble


Rosie Kay Dance


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