Francesca Hayward and Matthew Golding
in Romeo and Juliet
Photo: ROH / Alice Pennefather
Francesca Hayward made a youthful and sprightly Juliet on Friday. Paired with the fresh-faced timidity of Sander Blommaert as Paris, she was enthusiastic if tentative. It wasn't until faced with Matthew Golding's Romeo that she suddenly matured, tilting her head back in exultation at his every touch in the most exquisitely sexually-charged balcony pas de deux I've seen.
Hayward was heart-breaking when faced with her parents' wrath in Act III, but left me less moved in the final death scene. Nevertheless, it was an impressive and sensitively interpreted debut that will no doubt develop over time.
Superb acting also came from Kristen McNally as an unusually sympathetic Lady Capulet.