Shakespeare’s had a makeover and this time it’s Juliet’s time to have her say. With Max Martin’s smash-hit pop times, some of musical theatre’s finest talent and a 21st century twist, & Juliet is the hottest new British musical to hit our stage.
With adaptations of Romeo and Juliet flying around the theatre scene, this musical boasts a witty script, striking choreography and catchy musical numbers all performed by a cast that will take your breath away. It’s all about the women in this new production – and it’s about time too. We meet Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway who speaks up about his problematic plot and decides to put her own spin on it. Asking, what would have happened if Juliet didn’t die? It’s the Shakespeare story we’ve all been waiting for.
Juliet is alive and after finding out Romeo isn’t quite all that, she goes on a journey of self-discovery. Alongside her loyal friends May and April, she builds herself back up again after her heartache. Narrated by William Shakespeare (Oliver Tompsett) and Anne Hathaway (Cassidy Janson) we delve into Juliet’s story through powerful pop hits.
Miriam Teak-Lee brings a whole new level of sass to the role of Juliet. She’s determined, feisty and oozing confidence. Teak-Lee has fire within her as she passionately performs the belting pop songs. Her vocals are some of the best I’ve heard on stage for a long time as she fuses musical theatre and pop to create a sound that had people up on their feet mid-show. Her big final number ‘Roar’ brings the house down.
Oliver Tompsett is charismatic and hits the mark when it comes to comedy timing as William Shakespeare. Cassidy Janson is outstanding as Anne Hathaway as she snubs Shakespeare’s ideas to create a story that gives the women the strength they deserve in Shakespeare’s classic stories. The constant banter between brings excellent humour to the story. Equally, Melanie La Barrie has the audience in fits of laughter with her joyous performance as the straight-talking Nurse that provides guidance to Juliet.
Arun Blair-Mangat is sweet yet defiant as May – who brings essential LGBTQ+ representation to the story. Supporting Juliet along the way, he starts to really find himself. His performance of Britney Spear’s iconic ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ is delivered with real heart. His love interest Francois, played brilliantly by Tim Mahendran, is a charming story to follow as it’s weaved into the story. Jordan Luke Gage brings a whole new dimension to Romeo with his sublime vocals and a jaw-dropping entrance.
This production propels musical theatre into modern day as it takes a classic tale and twists it to make it relevant. They are giving us everything when it comes to production values. Soutra Gilmour’s set is beautifully crafted to create a visual spectacle which is mirrored in Paloma Young’s inventive costume design.
The ensemble are what bring this production to life and their electric energy is infectious. Bringing to life Jennifer Weber’s mesmerising choreography, the movement packs a real punch.
It’s a musical that takes cheesy to a whole new level, but it’s superbly self-aware and uses tongue and cheek British humour to captivate the audience with this modern narrative. It’s fantastically funny and the way they’ve tied the songs and the script together is genius. Luke Sheppard brings depth to these characters and strikes the perfect balance between the humour and sincerity.
& Juliet is a fierce, fabulous and feel-good new musical that will capture your heart and lift your spirits. This is the kind of show we need in our lives right now – & Juliet is top-quality, high energy theatre that is opening the door to a whole new generation of musical theatre.
& Juliet is on at the Opera House in Manchester until the 12th of October before opening in London’s West End on Saturday the 2nd of November. Tickets and information can be found on their website.