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Sunday, May 15, 2016


(Leagan Peffer & Devon Marshbank as Juliet & Romeo)

 Beatles meet Shakespeare in Sean Bovim's Romeo's Kiss. (Review by Maria Schuld)

For only a short season, acclaimed choreographer Sean Bovim brings his Romeo's Kiss onto the Playhouse Drama stage in Durban as a co-operation between dancers from Bovim Ballet and the Playhouse Dance Residency.

As part of Bovim's visionary mission to unite classical ballet with pop culture in order to make it easier to digest for the masses, Romeo's Kiss takes on the famous tragic story of two lovers from opposite social backgrounds. This time, songs from The Beatles set the musical theme, after putting a focus on Elvis Presley and Queen in previous hit productions.

Bovim's formula is simple: Take around 30 beautifully remixed versions of famous pop songs and evolve the story through dances accompanying these three-minute pieces. Whether this works or not is entirely up to the viewer's perspective. While spectators expecting intricate classical step sequences, a novel modern transformation of ballet or the depth of Shakespeare's drama might be disappointed, those wanting to sing along their favourite songs accompanied by entertaining choreographies will certainly enjoy themselves throughout the show.

Besides Romeo and Juliet, interpreted by Devon Marshbank and Leagan Peffer as two innocent, almost 'cute' young professionals, the couple's respective best friends Mercutio and Nicki (danced by Jarryd Watson and Julia Hosmer) made a charismatic appearance. An audience's favourite were Rachel Abrahams' and Casey Swales' sexy intermezzos as Lady C and Tybalt.

The evening ended with standing ovations for the artists while clapping to the tunes of All You Need Is Love, and somehow the nagging feeling that the question whether Shakespeare and the Beatles really go together has not been sufficiently answered yet.

Romeo's Kiss runs at the Playhouse from May 12 to 16 with performances at 19h30 on Thursday and Saturday, and at 14h30 on Sunday. Tickets R120 booked through Computicket. - Maria Schuld