The ballet problem

SOME YEARS AGO I was taken to a production of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Albert Hall. The performers managed a laudable interpretation of the fight scene in which Romeo slays Tybalt, and the balcony scene was delivered with an appropriate amount of passion. But when it came to Juliet visiting an apothecary to request a potion that would enable her to appear dead while in fact only sleeping, the dancers’ best attempts at mime could make no inroad.

Which left me thinking: What sort of mind takes a Shakespeare play and decides that the one thing we can really do without is the words?


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