London has once again been graced with another new musical! & Juliet, written by David West Read (Schitt’s Creek), directed by Luke Sheppard (In The Heights, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ -The Musical) and featuring music from Max Martin’s extensive catalogue (Backstreet Boys, P!nk, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande etc. etc. etc.) has found its home at the Shaftesbury Theatre. The comedy musical follows Shakespeare (and his wife Anne)’s rewriting of his classic tale beginning with Juliet not killing her self upon finding Romeo’s body. From here, she decides to go to Paris with her best friends to find love once again.
We managed to see a preview of the show in Manchester this October and really enjoyed the performance but seeing it in the West End has completely blown us away. The production has become everything previews are intended for, it’s one of a kind and has to be seen to be believed! Here are our five reasons to see & Juliet:
1. It is so hilarious
Not really marketed much as a comedy, this show is unexpectedly hysterical. The complete first act is joke after joke and even just the use of some songs get a laugh due to how they are placed in relation to the plot. The gags are really clever and are very well received. Act one ends on a hilarious scene, with another load of comedy packed into act two, intertwined with more emotion than the first half. Coming out of the theatre your face will be aching from laughing and smiling so much. The entire lead cast have comic timing down to a tee and provide brilliant entertainment in their execution.
2. Everything in the show is STUNNING!
My goodness there is so much to look at in this show. The costumes are bespoke to each actor (see our backstage exclusive for more info) and so intricately designed with such detail to them which make them jaw dropping-ly beautiful.
Along with handmade costumes, the scenery gives the same dazzling effect. The scene at the Renaissance Ball is a fine example of expertly hand painted scenery with moving parts, glitter and lights, it’s a sensory overload and we can’t get enough.
Set pieces in the show are spectacular too. We would recommend avoiding the trailer if you want to be surprised as this does give away quite a few fabulous moments, but understandably these marketing tools need to be created to get the crowds in.
3. The songs used are absolute bangers and mash
Hold onto your hats, we are taking a trip down nostalgia lane at high speed, stopping only when we have heard every Backstreet Boys and Britney song we can think of! So many of Max Martin’s songs have been used for this show and have been worked around in such a way that they feel completely organic and relevant. This show is defined as a jukebox musical as it uses pre-released songs, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Many songs you think you know have been reimagined to fit the story and it makes for such a fresh feel to them. As mentioned earlier, the use of songs get such a laugh, as so many people know a first line of a hit from just hearing the opening bars, they know what a character is going to say in response to a scene and it lands so well. The cast album is released on Friday 22nd November and we can’t wait to sing along to it on every car journey!
4. The fantastic talent of the cast
A main cast filled with award winning theatre royalty includes Miriam Teak Lee (Juliet), Oliver Tompsett (Shakespeare), Cassidy Janson (Anne), David Bedella (Lance), Arun Blair-Mangat (May), Jordan Luke Gage (Romeo), Melanie La Barrie (Nurse) and Tim Mahendran (Francois). Not only are the lead cast hilarious, but their voices are impeccable. Almost all of them have some really emotional scenes which they smash out of the park, notably Cassidy Janson’s rendition of the reimagined Celine Dion’s “That’s The Way It Is” blows the roof off the place!
The talent of the ensemble matches that of the lead cast. The only other time we have seen such slick and energetic full ensemble choreography like this is at Hamilton (so choreographer, Jennifer Weber take a bow!). Every single person on that stage is giving their absolute all into each performance and it shows.
5. It is the feel good show that the West End needs!
With Dear Evan Hansen opening the night before & Juliet, you might be coming out of the Noël Coward Theatre and needing a bit of a ‘pick me up’. Well, let the Shaftesbury Theatre be your next stop and dry those tears because it’s fun and laughter at an unstoppable pace from here on in! Not only does this show fit so well in the West End, but it’s firmly fitting in 2019 too with themes of female empowerment and gender issues, & Juliet is a show for the now and we hope it’s here to stay!
& Juliet is currently booking at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 30th May 2020 and tickets can be found on their website https://www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk