As I was getting ready to see the Romeo and Juliet brought to us by The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia) and three principal dancers from The Royal Ballet (UK), clever Facebook reminded me, that exactly one year ago, we enjoyed a magnificent performance by the stars of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Wonder if November 12 should be named a National Ballet Day in Bahrain? But jokes aside, it is always such a joy when our theatre lights up invitingly with a promise of a cultural evening.
So eagerly I went bursting with anticipation. Well, we have seen better, but the principal dancer of The Royal Ballet, Yasmine Naghdi was absolutely convincing as Juliet, masterfully conveying youthful naivety and confusing infatuations of the first burst of love. Indeed, she was acting the role superbly whilst dancing absolutely impeccably. However, in my opinion, Romeo was rather lacking the edge of that perfect lover, both artistically and technically. Some of the group scenes appeared a bit unpolished, but to be fair, those tiny imperfections were amply compensated by impressive decorations and colorful period costumes, and with a rather rare occurrence in these parts- a full live orchestra.
Except one had a great difficulty hearing what they were playing as latecomers kept coming, and coming… and coming, disturbing entire rows of punctual viewers, flashing phones to light their way and making all sorts of noises. This is not allowed anywhere else in the world.
If you are late, you watch the first act or even entire first part from the monitor in the hall… as a punishment, so you are never ever late again. Why can’t we train our ushers to withhold ‘the traffic’ until the end of each act, when the curtain goes down for a minute and music pauses. As the audience settled at last, the air-conditioning kicked in at full blast on the subzero setting, and even such well equipped frequent theatre goes as Yours Truly, who arrived with woolen scarfs, pashminas, heated blankets and hot water-bottles, were struggling to keep the chill at bay.
By the middle of the second act the coughing and sneezing got so intense, that it actually nearly out-voiced the orchestra, rising to an impressive crescendo at the end of the third act.
Naturally, during the intermission the freezing audience spurted outside to regain some circulation in their icy limbs. We were allowed fifteen minutes, but it took much longer to return to one’s normal bodily temperature, and since there was no gong, as it is customary in any theatre, the whole shamble of lateness was accurately repeated at the beginning of the second act, and then again at the beginning of the third. Because there was no gong. Nought. So even people who arrived on time, ended up being late after each intermission.
Although, in the ladies ‘powder room’, one could hear random announcements in Russian, summoning the orchestra to the stage. An unpardonable breach of the sacred rules of Her Majesty The Theatre. Anything that goes behind the stage, stays behind the stage. The viewer is only presented with a magnificent, flawlessly choreographed and masterfully lit perfection.
One can’t keep but wonder, if we invite all those stars and world-renowned companies to perform here, why can’t we send our theatre management on tour to see how world’s theatres are run. Well, just an idea.