REVIEW: & JULIET (Shaftesbury Theatre) ★★★★

& Juliet tells the story of what may have happened had Juliet not died on that fateful night in Verona. Narrated from the view point of William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway who is concerned that all his plays end in tragedy so suggests an alternative happy ending which she also writes herself into.

Juliet’s story starts at Romeo’s funeral where she learns of his many other lovers, this along with her parents threatening to send her to a nunnery prompts Juliet to leave for Paris with her best friend, nanny and Anne Hathaway in tow. Whilst here Juliet becomes entangled in another love story whilst trying to understand who she is and what she really wants.

The story has been constructed around the musical hits of Max Martin, which include songs from the likes of Britney Spears, Backstreet boys, Celine Dion and Jessie J. Along with fist pumping music were glitter guns shooting out into the audience and confetti pouring from the ceiling which created a real party atmosphere. There was also some unexpected humour which sent ripples of laughter through the auditorium on several occasions, an example of this is when Shakespeare dramatically states to his wife “there will never be another Anne Hathaway”

The cast were all brilliant in their own way but there were two stand out performances for me. Cassidy Janson who plays Anne Hathaway stole the scene every time she was on stage, engaging the audience throughout and delivering some real comedic gems, her solo of Celine Dion’s hit “that’s the way it is” was one of the most memorable songs of the evening and she sounded incredible.

And of course Miriam Teak Lee who plays the title role of Juliet, who was on stage pretty much the whole time and was consistent throughout, she delivered perfect performances of each of her songs culminating in Katy Perry’s Roar which had the audience up on their feet.

This is a fun must see if you like cheesy jukebox musicals with a hint of panto like interaction with the audience.

Reviewed by Emily Smith

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