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Romeo & Juliet

Kevin Jackson & Madeleine Eastoe in Romeo & Juliet
Pic by Jeff Busby


Five stars

“... a production that should set off rave reviews and long be remembered.”
“Orchestra Victoria, under chief conductor Nicolette Fraillon, understood and conveyed every nuance in a performance that matched the brilliance on stage.”
“It is to the credit of all dancers that their fine performances were intrinsic to the power of this production”
“More needs to be written about this production to do it justice, but I would need a lot more space. The production is a sell-out in Melbourne, and likely to be in Sydney – deservedly so.”
“Quite apart from the thrill of experiencing the Australian Ballet’s great performance it made me extremely proud of our national company, the wealth of talent behind the scenes and, simply, the genius of Graeme Murphy”
Arts Hub, 17 September 2011

"Four stars"
“Storytelling is Murphy’s great strength.”
“Propelled by exceptional performances by the dancers, his choreography embodies the violent delights of young love and the pitiful sight of its untimely end.”
“In the title roles, Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson are terrific, growing naturally from cheeky innocence to their distraught and decisive final moments. The trajectory of their relationship is flawlessly developed in their pas de deux. From tentative beginnings to intimate embraces, delicately intertwining arm motifs and challenging balances and lifts, Murphy combines virtuosity with structural depth and pathos.”
“The playfully bawdy physicality of Daniel Gaudiello’s Mercutio and the intensely protective ferocity of Andrew Killian as Tybalt counterbalance the romantic tenderness, with supporting roles also brilliantly devised and enacted.”
“Akira Isogawa’s divine costumes are just as fascinating as Murphy’s choreography, both endowed with beautiful detail and flair.”
The Age, 15 September 2011

"[Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson] form a superb partnership.”
The Australian, 15 September 2011

"It’s a melange that should prove enduring”
“Opening night saw Madeleine Eastoe shine”
The Sunday Age, 18 September 2011

“There is much to be commended in this reworking of John Cranko’s much loved classic, particularly the partnering of Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson, who trust each other to extend as far as [Graeme] Murphy’s neo-classical choreography demands. [Graeme] Murphy has captured their sweet innocent youth in movements that refpect the first love, a sensual awakening, a tragically carefree approach.”
“The balcony pas de deux is the romantic highlight and features heart-soaring choreography and impressive acting by both dancers. They are every bit the star-crossed lovers.”
“[Graeme] Murphy’s poetic vision is on full display and at full effect.”
“Wherever [Graeme] Murphy takes us on the journey is visually splendid”
Sunday Herald Sun, 18 September 2011

“Graeme Murphy’s new production of Romeo & Juliet is a visual delight. We gasped in awe as the curtain rose”
“Gerard Manion’s sets range across continents and religions, with Damien Cooper’s lighting and Jason Lam’s projection design enriching the stunning visuals.”
“The colors and textures echoed in the extraordinary and beautiful costumes of designer Akira Isogawa”
“Prokofiev’s music is given a passionate and dynamic interpretation by Orchestra Victoria under the baton of Nicolette Fraillon.”
“[Lana] Jones is an ethereal Juliet – light, fluid, and with the effervescence of young love. She is tiny, vulnerable and yet wonderfully hopeful in the face of opposition. It is a fine interpretation of [Graeme] Murphy’s choreography and a virtuoso performance that appears completely effortless.”
“The two pranksters are delightful characters and add a welcome touch of hilarity to the desperate tale of star-crossed lovers. Chengwu Guo, who played Mercutio in this performance, is a quick-fire performer who uses the language of dance to tell perfectly executed jokes.”
“Minor roles are performed with great character, adding light, shade and humour to the story. The invented character of Death (Brett Simon) gives a frisson of dread to the unfolding tragedy. The fight scenes, with the exception of the first encounter in Verona between the Capulets and the Montagues, are performed with a sense of spontaneity, danger and realism.”
“[Graeme] Murphy, working with his creative associate Janet Vernon, excels here in the art of storytelling through visual imagery. The ballet soars beyond the confines of space and time and, although some of choreography stays too close to traditional forms, the huge emotional register of this mythical tale is expressed through ever-shifting visual metaphors and exquisite dancing.”
Australian Stage Online, 19 September 2011

“There is an abundance of interesting and imaginative choreography in Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet
“The dance and the dancers are wonderful.”
“Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson in their roles had developed their characterisations and assurance to give beautifully danced and theatrically satisfying performances. The main focus of their choreography is on Juliet’s girlish lightness and speed, in which [Madeleine] Eastoe excels, and Romeo’s sweet and slightly gawky boyishness, sensitively portrayed by [Kevin] Jackson.”
“[Graeme] Murphy has always been strong on detail and these two dancers [Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson] make the most of the nuances he offers in partnering, body shapes and gestures.”
“The exuberant Mercutio comes close to stealing the show, Daniel Gaudiello giving a joyous, entertaining performance of stylish dancing and engaging stage presence.”
“As his friend Benvolio, Jacob Sofer made a strong impression.”
“[Graeme] Murphy’s ability as a storyteller remains paramount.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 2011

“His [Graeme Murphy’s] masterful storytelling prowess once again prevails, resulting in a game-changing ballet that leaves you begging for more”
“Madeleine Eastoe’s Juliet is utterly resplendent, exuding a childlike beauty that teeters between giddy exuberance and heart-wrenching agony. Her balcony pas de deux with Kevin Jackson, a strong yet playful Romeo, has the audience riveted. The pair make a sublime partnership.”
“Daniel Gaudiello’s bawdy, mischievous Mercutio induced theatre wide hysterics, while Amy Harris's flawless technique gave Lady Capulet a dangerous edge.”
“A wild ride you won’t forget in a hurry”
The Daily Telegraph, 6 December 2011

“His [Graeme Murphy’s] shiny new production of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet has all the verve and with Shakespeare would’ve, one speculates, appreciated, if not the wonderful words.”
“[Graeme] Murphy, albeit through different skills and media, is as much a bard as the original, given his prodigious affinity for cohesive narrative; certainly, his language is as rich and original.”
“‘Team Murphy’ (is) a coterie of genius that includes Vernon, costume designer Akira Isogawa, set designer Gerard Manion, lighting designer Damien Cooper and projection designer Jason Lam. They’re as tight as a locked-down, impenetrable scrum; seemingly each other’s mind-readers, such is the degree of sympathy for and synergy with each other’s craft. Each and all of these components is and are ravishing”
“Team Murphy also benefits from the always extraordinary conductorship of Nicolette Fraillon, who consistently draws the very best from the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra”
“Murphy doesn’t just surprise, he delights”
“Principals aside, it’s almost certainly Brett Chynoweth’s Mercutio and Jacob Sofer’s Benvolio that steal the show, with their playful antics”
“I very much doubt you’ll be in the slightest disappointed with this bulging Christmas stocking of a ballet.”
Crikey’s Curtain Call , 6 December 2011

“The dancers worked hard with the often complex choreography, producing some superb dancing, not least Madeleine Eastoe as Juliet – all delicate control and speed, her flowing bourres and flying brises a joyful portrayal of Juliet’s youth and innocence”
Dance Australia, December 2011

“Lavish and spectacular”
“As Mercutio, Chengwu Guo brought exactly the right kind of boyish cheekiness, making the death at Tybalt’s hand all the more tragic.”
Jones and Bull are both emotionally capable and technically powerful enough to handle Murphy’s complex movement sequences and the dramatic demands of the role.”
“One of [Graeme] Murphy’s greatest strengths is the choreography that he creates for male dancers. Flowing, deep and heavily weighted into the ground, it emphasizes masculinity, making everything from the clowning antics of Romeo and his mates to the young love story compelling and believable. The strength and masculinity of the male dancers is revealed in partnering work that is complex and difficult.”
Romeo & Juliet is not the kind of ballet that is easily forgotten.”
Dance International, December 2011

"As Juliet, Madeleine Eastoe is gloriously light and radiant, and her pas de deux with Romeo (Kevin Jackson) produce some exquisite imagery and lines."
[On Daniel Gaudiello as Mercutio] "…his boorish buffoonery was typical of teenaged boys, generating plenty of laughs while also injecting technically adroit movement."
The Courier Mail, 26 March 2012

"Madeleine Eastoe (Juliet) and Kevin Jackson (Romeo) are outstanding, giving impassioned and intelligent performances, while Daniel Gaudiello is a gift to the role of the loyal lout, Mercutio."
"Nicolette Fraillon whipped the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra into a frenzy in one of the great ballet scores in history."
The Adelaide Advertiser, 29 May 2012

"as a whole the ballet is hugely enjoyable, vividly imaginative, and danced with polish and verve"
"an explosion of joyous colour from some of the 300 costumes Akira Isogawa has designed for the ballet... Murphy’s exuberant choreography makes full use of their swirling silks"
“The production shows the company’s depth of talent”
“Madeleine Eastoe giving a performance of rare delicacy and dramatic power as Juliet, developing from a shy, obedient daughter to a gloriously happy lover”
“Kevin Jackson is her ardent Romeo, and a delight to watch; his delirious joy in the balcony scene, expressed in fast jumps, rolls and spins on the floor has a most engaging boyishness”
“Andrew Killian makes an energetically malevolent Tybalt”
"Nicolette Fraillon directed the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in a sumptuous performance of the Prokofiev score"
The Adelaide Review, May 2012

“Twists and turns in time and place paved the way for fresh and vibrant new life to be breathed into the greatest love story ever told”
“Kevin Jackson and Madeleine Eastoe were technically assured, captivating and convincing as forbidden lovers Romeo and Juliet”
“strong choreography provided the dancers with the opportunity to showcase their strength, dexterity, flexibility and the fluidity of their movement”
“those going to see Romeo and Juliet with an open mind, an idea of what to expect and understanding of the creative vision will no doubt enjoy this intoxicating production”
PerthNow, 11 October 2012

“an array of evocative performances, all finished off with the most beautifully articulated feet”
“that famous Murphy magic still casts its spell”
“Murphy’s choreography for the guests [of the ball] captures perfectly the dramatic tension of Prokofiev’s composition, as do Akira Isogawa’s costumes”
“the balcony scene is another high point. There’s a weightless quality to the young couple’s pas de deux”
“Madeleine Eastoe (Juliet) and Kevin Jackson (Romeo) delighted the audience”
“Eastoe’s Juliet embodies the contradiction of adolescence — at once childish but full of steely teenage determination”
“Physically and emotionally [Eastoe] portrays the pure joy of falling in love — that lightness of body and spirit”
“Jackson is a delightfully impulsive Romeo, all boyish charm and passion”
“[Kevin Jackson’s] allegro has a buoyancy that belies his muscular frame”
“Brett Chynoweth… and Jacob Sofer [as Mercutio and Benvolio] make a deft, pelvic-thrusting comic duo”
“Chynoweth stands out technically, with his pleasingly air-borne sissonnes and grand jetés, and crisp grande pirouette à la seconde”
The West Australian, 12 October 2012



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