The Australian premiere of L.A. Dance Project’s Romeo and Juliet Suite at the Sydney Opera House is flawless

Romeo and Juliet Suite

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, an ill-fated tale of star-crossed lovers, has been re-imagined time and time again. I honestly thought there was no ground left to cover when it came to adaptations of the beloved classic. I have never been more delighted to be wrong.

Set to Prokofiev’s iconic score, Romeo and Juliet Suite at the Sydney Opera House is a fresh and inspired interpretation of the tragic tale. Artistic Director and Choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, along with L.A. Dance Project, have created an exemplary performance combining dance, theatre, and cinema. Through the use of a handheld camera, the audience is taken on a journey which far exceeds the parameters of the stage.

The combination of skilled cinematography by camera operator and Associate Artistic Director Sebastien Marcovici and impeccable lighting design by François-Pierre Couture, resulted in a feast for the eyes. Red and blue lighting and costuming were implemented to differentiate between Montague and Capulet, a subtle yet effective addition to the visual narrative.

Lorrin Brubaker as Tybalt and Shu Kinouchi as Mercutio.

Every night of the performance a different couple will play Romeo and Juliet. One night it will be male/male, another male/female and then female/female. This important detail adds a contemporary feel to the performance, while emphasising that love is love, it has no restrictions.

Mario Gonzalez as Juliet truly embodied the youth and giddiness of first love and was the perfect partner for David Adrian Freeland Jr. as Romeo. There is a palpable innocence as Romeo leads Juliet through the dances with a coy shyness. This couple are beautiful to watch.

In particular, the balcony scene, which saw the two dancers run outside and perform in the front courtyard of the Opera House, was perfection. The camera swirls around them as they move effortlessly through space, the iconic building and city-scape in the background. Joyous and mesmerising, this was a moment of pure magic.

Another extraordinary scene is near the beginning of the story, when Romeo attends a ball at the Capulets residence. Utilising a section backstage, the dancers were hidden behind a screen from the audience. Red lighting combined with Prokofiev’s epic Dance of the Knights, was used to heighten the feeling of anticipation and drama. Particularly, the focus on Tybalt (played brilliantly by Lorrin Brubaker) emphasised his menacing presence and position of power. It presents as some sort of fever dream and sets the tone for things to come.

The ball at the Capulet residence.

The way in which this performance utilised the venue and its surrounds is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Seemingly no space in and around the Opera House was left undiscovered, providing the audience with a rare glimpse behind the curtain. While we see Tybalt murder Mercutio (a standout performance by Shu Kinouchi) on stage, Tybalt himself meets his end at the hands of Romeo in the deepest and darkest bowels of the theatre. It provides such a stark contrast and adds so much weight to these moments.

David Adrian Freeland Jr. as Romeo and Mario Gonzalez as Juliet.

With incredible performances across the board, Romeo and Juliet Suite is an intoxicating display of beauty. Put simply, this was an absolute delight to watch, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. This arguably flawless production will completely transport you, literally to a world beyond the stage, and you just might never be the same again.


Courtney Conovan
Jeremy Coachman
Lorrin Brubaker
Daphne Fernberger
Nayomi Van Brunt
Hope Spears
Audrey Sides
Brodie Wolf
Aidan Tyssee
Marirosa Crawford
Matisse D’Aloisio


Romeo and Juliet Suite will perform at the Sydney Opera House until 9 June 2024.
For more information and to buy tickets head to the Sydney Opera House website.
Reviewer attended on June 5 2024.
Photography by Daniel Boud