Ballet Reviews : Wes Chapman, Amanda McKerrow in ABT ‘Romeo’

The news Sunday afternoon at Shrine Auditorium was Wes Chapman dancing the title role in Kenneth MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet"--another case of a soloist grabbing a chance in the spotlight.

To his credit, ABT’s new Romeo encountered no stumbling blocks. True, he has not developed any distinct characterization and his ballroom solo seemed more like a neatly proficient class combination than a means of capturing Juliet’s attention. But in the balcony scene his whipped, perfectly aligned multiple turns gave a sense of ardor otherwise missing.

In fact, neither of the lovers found the sweeping abandon and daring that makes for a stellar performance. But at least Chapman and Amanda McKerrow, as Juliet, were well matched. Rail-thin, she surpassed herself in technical mastery if not in emotional resonance. Lesser roles saw a callow Ross Yearsley as Benvolio, an unauthoritative David Richardson as Escalus/Friar and Loren Schmalle a wooden Paris, while Kathleen Moore made a protectively hovering Nurse. Jack Everly coaxed shimmering strings from the orchestra but missed Prokofiev’s passion.