Romeo and Juliet

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Think you know the story of Romeo and Juliet? Think again.

This inspired production by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures puts a dark, almost disturbing twist on the classic tale of the star-crossed lovers.

The scene is set in the Verona Institute - a psychiatric hospital for young people, where boys and girls are segregated and watched over by aggressive, leering guards.

When said guard whisks a vulnerable Juliet off to a private room and a silhouette of her hand desperately clawing against the window of a closed door takes centre stage, we are left in no doubt of the tone of the piece.

A sterile stage set and innocent, white costumes contrast starkly with new orchestrations of the intense Prokofiev score – parts of which are more recognisable as The Apprentice theme tune – performed live by the New Adventures Orchestra.

It makes for a mesmerising, but also somewhat chilling, combination.

The brilliant young cast, which features six local performers at each of the venues on this UK tour, executes Sir Matthew's intricate and incredibly clever choreography with a passion and emotion which draws the audience into the drama unfolding on stage.

With the traditional, forbidden love theme expanded to encompass same-sex relationships, and a focus on mental health, this is a thoroughly modern, thought-provoking interpretation of the classic love story, which will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

Despite knowing what was to come, I felt emotionally drained as the evening came to its tragic conclusion.

Utterly compelling.