A Complete Success
An evening long retelling
of the 'Romeo and Juliet' story,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER
The latest in Sinfonia Viva's series of annual schools workshop projects (Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 4 March 2009) was their most ambitious yet -- nothing less than an evening-long retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Drawing on Prokofiev's ballet score, it also included contributions from St Benedict's Catholic School and Performing Arts College, Bemrose Community School, Becket Primary School and Derby College. It was one of a number of events promoted under the title 'Shakes in the City' by Derby City Council's new cultural arm, Derby Live.
Three members of the 1623 Theatre Company spoke some of Shakespeare's text, though they were not always easy to hear over the music, and the excerpts were not always judiciously chosen. Shrouded from head to foot in white they represented, according to the programme, the Fates playing out the roles of the leading characters, whose destiny they control -- an interesting idea, though probably too sophisticated a concept for an occasion such as this. The Juliet was rather too mature in tone.
Musically, the evening was a complete success. Once again workshop leader James Redwood was a tower of strength, encouraging some remarkable results from the kids.
This was Viva's Principal Conductor André de Ridder's first appearance at one of these occasions, and he was obviously completely at ease. Using the reduced orchestration made with astonishingly skill by John Longstaff for Northern Ballet, Viva projected the tenderness, the springy athleticism and the menace of Prokofiev's score to the manner born.
Copyright © 21 March 2009
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK