REVIEW: &JULIET (Shaftesbury Theatre)

Welcome to the biggest pop party in the West End!

Probably Shakespeare’s most famous play, we all know the story of Romeo and Juliet – two star crossed lovers who can’t bear to live without each other. So when Romeo is killed, Juliet does the only thing she can think of and kills herself to be with him. But that’s a bit of an outdated story for 2022, when women are more powerful than ever and can actually survive through life without the help of a man (who knew?!).

At the start of the show, we meet William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway (jokes included), where they are having a heated conversation about his work and raise the question “what would have happened if Juliet didn’t kill herself?” The married couple rewrites the show with this in mind, hilariously writing themselves in and out of the play as various characters and constantly squabbling about how things should progress. But this is obviously a story about female empowerment and so you can probably guess things turn out ok for Juliet!

Everything about this show is phenomenal, bringing the music of Pop songwriter Max Martin to life. It’s like a best of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys with some Katy Perry classics and Kelly Clarkson’s powerhouse ‘Since U Been Gone’ – what more could any child of the 80’s/90’s dream of?!

The set is big and complex, the lights are bright and the show is visually more colourful than a glittery rainbow.

Casting for this production could not be more perfect. Oliver Tompsett plays William Shakespeare perfectly, with a warm and lovable cockney charm. Cassidy Janson is perfectly paired as wife Anne Hathaway, reminding us that not only is she a wonderful actor and singer but a skilled comic and wonderful dancer. Miriam-Teak Lee is delightful as Juliet, with a smile that can brighten up the saddest person’s day and a voice that could wake up any sleeping beauty. Tom Francis (Romeo), Tim Mahendran (Francois) and Alex Thomas-Smith (May) are all worthwhile of a shout-out for wonderful performances, as is the entire cast. But it is Keala Settle (as Nurse) who proves &Juliet really is ‘the greatest show’ if you want to party the night away in the West End.

★★★★★

Reviewed by West End Wilma