26 years. It’s barely the age of Romeo and Juliet combined when they both took their own lives. 26 years ago, Angelin Preljocaj created the eponymous ballet for the Lyon Opera, resuming this season at the Théâtre National de Chaillot.

In the meantime, in 1996, the show had been put together again, incorporating the very unique touch of Enki Bilal, one of Casterman’s favorite comics author and designer, who’s namely written and drawn a story called Julia & Roem (2011). For Preljocaj, he creates a spectacular scenography, a perfect match for Prokofiev’s breath-taking music. The production is magical.

Roméo et Juliette, Ballet Preljocaj, Illustration © Araso
Roméo et Juliette, Ballet Preljocaj, Illustration © Araso

Of course the plot is not free from Manichean clichés and taps into an already well exhausted vein. Juliet, the very lightly dressed young bourgeoise falls in love with homeless Romeo in a torn t-shirt. The cavalry in CRS armours parades at the bottom of a guard tower stridden along by a dog handler with a torch, Splinter Cell-style.

In spite of some over-explanatory awkwardness and a few costumes of questionable taste, the show is a great performance. Dance is flying off, the sight is beautiful, sexy, elegant, and keeps the audience enthralled. This is great Preljocaj.

Angelin Preljocaj, Roméo et Juliette
Théâtre National de Chaillot until Decembre 24 th 2016