On a second viewing, Marianela Núñez‘s Juliet comes into even clearer focus. This Juliet reveals herself as an almost post-adolescent girl, far from childish in the Nurse scenes. As such, those scenes come through with slight mixed messages. The steps and stage manner seem to ask for childlike innocence (or in some readings, a teasing of the Nurse). Núñez plays for innocence but it reads oddly. There is throughout the ballet, little progression from budding girl to mature woman: Núñez’s Juliet is already ready to love and be loved, and she moulds the story around that trajectory of Fate.
Chic, cool, sometimes clinical in staging, Maillot’s “Romeo and Juliette” is a whirling
spectacle of frentic dance, but one which didn’t fully move me. (Such is the bulk of
action written for her that it really should be called just “Juliette”.) Perhaps this was down to the minimalist set (Ernest Pignon-Ernest, and what a cool name) which removes all references to any medieval Verona, opting instead for a white palate, with a thing that looks like a slide bisecting the backwall, and two moveable panels. Credits are projected onto one panel at the start, which felt a bit strange. A touch of class came from the costumes (lamé, metallics, women in dresses slashed to the thigh) courtesy of Jérôme Kaplan.