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In fair Verona where we lay our scene… except Matthew Bourne’s exhilarating take on Romeo + Juliet doesn’t.

Instead, we are transported to the Verona Institute in the “not-too-distant-future” a stark place of white tiles, glaring lights, and cell doors, peopled by young men and women who are either prisoners, patients, or guinea pigs – take your pick.

So, not Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet as we know it, then, not by a long chalk. In fact, the best way to approach this stunning work from one of the world’s finest choreographers is to abandon any attempt to compare it to the original or its myriad film versions.

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Stop thinking: “Oh, is that Mercutio, then?” or “Is this the balcony scene?”. Instead, just sit back and let one of the most thrilling, lyrical, whimsical, romantic, and brutal – yes really – pieces of dance sweep you away at His Majesty’s Theatre.

As always, Bourne’s ability to tell a compelling narrative through dance is second-to-none, from hypnotic ensemble pieces involving all the patients/prisoners to sumptuous duets between Romeo and Juliet.

There are moments that are just a joy to watch, mixing Bourne’s trademarks of wit and grit.

A “prom night” dance brings the male and female inmates together in awkward whimsy reminiscent of every high school leaving do, but as soon as the guards' backs are turned it turns into an eyebrow-raising raunch fest.

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Of course, the star-crossed lovers are the focus of the story – both Shakespeare’s and Bourne’s.

And Paris Fitpatrick and Monique Jonas breathe real life into their Romeo and Juliet. Their duets are masterclasses in portraying every emotion from the joy of first love to the anguish of separation. They are just beautiful to watch.

But counterpoint to all the romance is a very dark story, as per the original, taking in sexual abuse, violence, and murder. There are moments that are uncomfortable to watch and at one point drew an audible gasp from the lady sitting beside me.

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All of these elements, though, come together to create a compelling and unforgettable work that will leave you thinking and talking about Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet long after the rapturous applause has died down.

It is running at His Majesty’s Theatre until Saturday and, as this is the final venue on the UK tour, it’s your last chance to see it before it goes to Paris and Los Angeles next year.

You can find out more information and get tickets here.

Review by Scott Begbie.