Ballet classic retells classic tale of doomed lovers

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There’s still time to see what may be one of the best ballet productions to be staged in Scotland this year - but you’ll have to book right away.

Scottish Ballet’s “Romeo and Juliet” is at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre until Saturday, and according to reviews it is still one of the best things the company have ever done.

Written for Scottish Ballet by Polish composer KIrzysztof Pastor in 2008 the epic dance drama fully lives up to its “iconic” tag.

Performed in three acts in a production just over two hours long (with one 20-minute interval) it is a mesmerising interpretation of Shakespeare’s immortal tale of star-crossed love.

Accompanied by the fabulous music score of Prokofiev it is a triumph of drama and dance in which the one obvious novelty - the contemporary setting - never jars for a moment.

When you consider that West Side Story -arguably the world’s greatest ever musical - is also a contemporary (at least to the 1950’s) retelling of Shakespeare’s 16th century tragedy it’s clear Romeo and Juliet is a story everyone can relate to.

In the New York mean streets the conflict is between two gangs, one white and the other Puerto Rican.

When romance blooms across the sectarian divide all hell breaks loose - ultimately with fatal consequences.

In Shakespeare’s original the vendetta was between rival Italian families the Montagus and the Capulets, but the story was essentially the same - and, sadly, is as relevant now as ever.

The Scottish Ballet production can be enjoyed on many levels, both for the stunning dance performances and the superb music of the live Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

And although surely everyone knows how the tragedy ends - it can hardly be a surprise after four centuries as the most famous love story of all time - this never seems to detract one iota from the devastating pathos of the finale.

As a ballet Romeo and Juliet can look magnificent when rendered in the period costume of the Renaissance (the time Shakespeare was writing about), but in a modern setting - as with this piece - the force of the dramatic narrative can seem even stronger.

There isn’t the distraction of a colourful setting and, of course, when the characters are all wearing recognisably modern clothes the whole story becomes instantly and obviously relevant to modern life.

As one of Scottish Ballets’ flagship productions for 2014 this has the makings of a ballet that should not be missed.

For further information check out the Scottish Ballet website, and for tickets the King’s booking office is at 0844871764.