& Juliet | Theatre Review ★★★★☆

“What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?”

In the streets of Verona, all is not what it seems. Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway take hold of the quill one last time and rewrite the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers. Hang on, so Juliet doesn’t kill herself over a boy after all? Shocking considering their “very serious relationship” as quoted by Miriam Teak-Lee’s Juliet, which consisted of four days. The musical turns the play’s serious tone on its head and is drenched in feel-good factor, irony and glitter. The hype is real, and it’s camper than Christmas, so go buyeth oneself a ticket.

Based on the many sounds of Max Martin, & Juliet features witty renditions of pop hits “Baby One More Time”, “Can’t feel my face” “Domino” and “I kissed a girl” performed with heaps of charisma and to the absolute campest standard. The utilisation of pop songs may put a few off at first, the thought is slightly daunting…but it truly works. The passion that goes into each harmony is commendable, while contrasted so well with daft and melodramatic moments, shows how cleverly written it is. And what’s especially interesting about & Juliet is its ability to convey a deep stance on representation within its plot without being too in your face, nor preachy.

Lovers of Moulin Rouge will adore this modern stage hit; the two hold loose comparisons in their quirkiness. Cassidy Janson and David Bedella feature as the standout performances and best comedic presence, exuding wit and daft gestures. And Bedella’s performance of “Teenage Dream” and “Break Free” was entertaining and remarkable in equal measure. Though, shocketh would be Shakespeare if he set his eyes on the ‘interesting’ costume display of corsets mixed with bomber jackets and Dr Martens. A sight you can’t unsee, but a wonderfully bizarre one at that.

A moving, modern makeover that Romeo & Juliet needed – it’s hard not to be utterly obsessed with it. An unexpectedly uplifting treasure you’ll want to jam to all night long. The infectious energy swept the audience up and off their seats – so just know that bums will not be on seats.

& Juliet is at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 30th May 2020.

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