Double Shakespeare bill a first for Perth

A BALLET has called upon the alt-rock gods to honour the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, with two very different adaptations of the bard’s most popular tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

“I thought we should do something special,” says the company’s artistic director Aurélien Scannella.

A revival of Youri Vámos’ classical ballet will alternate with performances of the 2005 smash-hit Radio and Juliet. Choreographed by Romanian Edward Clug, the contemporary adaptation is set to songs by British rockers Radiohead.

“Two different versions — two in a season — a classical and contemporary one, it’s very exciting for the dancers and something nobody ever did before,” Scannella says.

• Brooke Widdison-Jacobs as Juliet in WA Ballet’s Radio and Juliet, a modern interpretation of the bard’s popular tragedy set to the music of Radiohead.

• Brooke Widdison-Jacobs as Juliet in WA Ballet’s Radio and Juliet, a modern interpretation of the bard’s popular tragedy set to the music of Radiohead.

The dual season will open at His Majesty’s Theatre on September 9.

Running at just 55 minutes, Radio and Juliet typically attracts a younger crowd than your average classical ballet performance.

“Last time we performed it [at 2014’s Ballet at the Quarry] we had a different audience coming, people not really used to theatre,” Scannella says.

Featuring Narrogin-born principal artist Brooke Widdison-Jacobs as Juliet and six male dancers representing Romeo, the story is from Juliet’s point of view and asks audiences to think about what would happen if she had lived.

Scannella says some people find it difficult to understand the modern adaptation’s storyline but they can still enjoy it.

“Look at film,” he says, “You either like it or not, you don’t have to understand all of it but you know if you like it.”

Critics often say the same about Radiohead’s music, which Scannella admits he was unfamiliar with before seeing Radio and Juliet performed for the first time.

“The moment I watched [our] rehearsals, it seems like the songs have been created for this ballet, [they] create such atmosphere, it’s not just about this English guy singing.”

For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://www.waballet.com.au

by SOPHIE MOOREW

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