Review: Romeo and Juliet a balletic movie of Shakespearean porportions

Daniel Da Silva takes flight as Mercutio in Ballet Jorgen’s Romeo and Juliet. - Andrew Leong
Daniel Da Silva takes flight as Mercutio in Ballet Jorgen’s Romeo and Juliet.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Without a word, Ballet Jörgen’s superb Romeo and Juliet became a silent movie of Shakespearean proportions in the Cowichan Theatre Saturday.

The bard’s timelessly tragic messages about hope, love and peace trumping hate, death and revenge were seamlessly staged amid simple, yet effective sets.

Missing was an apparent method of death: Romeo, then Juliet, died without seeming use of poison or a dagger.

Still, Jörgen’s masterful motion and subtle silence was an exemplary tale worthy of the bard’s applause.

Romeo and Juliet is no stranger to Cowichanians.

The beloved love story has been presented in refreshingly different versions in recent years by the Shawnigan Players and Island Oak High School.

What made Jörgen’s work stand out was expression and motion replacing all-important dialogue that’s key to the bard’s play.

This time, dancers used body language, some comedy, and facial looks to silently tell us the complex story later seen in West Side Story and other works.

Romeo (Hiroto Saito) and Juliet (Saniya Abilmajineva) effectively played the star-crossed lovers in simple costumes, compared to lavish clothes worn by other characters.

The muscular cast reflected sad retribution between Romeo’s Montague family versus Juliet’s Capulet clan.

Conflict was reminiscent of America’s legendarily harsh Hatfields and McCoys feud, with the confused couple caught in a crossfire of sword work.

Their happy, fledgling romance contrasted perfectly with the deadly bile swirling around them.

The lovers’ untimely, needless deaths — through well-meaning, yet bad, communication — was unscored by the beauty of Ballet Jörgen’s production.

Shakespearean ballet rating: 9.5 tragedies out of 10.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.