& Juliet the Musical
Rating ★★★★★
Venue: Shaftesbury Theatre, London
Cast: Grace Mouat, Jordan Luke Gage, Kirstie Skivington, Oliver Tompsett, David Bedella, Melanie La Barrie, Tim Mahendran and Nathan Lorainey-Dineen

With her bags packed and ready to escape Verona, Juliet recovers from heartbreak in the best way possible… by dancing the night away with her best friends by her side! But when the sparkle fades, the confetti falls and reality catches up, it’s clear that Juliet needs to face her past in order to find her future. Can she reclaim a story that has been written in the stars? Is there really life after Romeo… or could he be worth one more try?

Grace Mouat as Juliet
Would there really be any other way to start my stagey blog than with a review of my favourite West End show? & Juliet has been on my bucket list for a while, so once covid restrictions were lifted, it was the first show I booked to see. I saw it for the first time on 31st January. Fast forward 4 weeks and I just went back for my 4th visit. …you could say I'm a fan?

The story starts on opening night of Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare (Tompsett) shares the ending of his newly-finished play with his players and wife, Anne (Skivington). Anne rejects the idea of Juliet killing herself after hearing the news of Romeo, and instead asks Shakespeare if "he's a strong enough man to write a stronger woman?" Enter Juliet.

Juliet choosing to live is now the beginning of our story and we follow Juliet as she rebels against her parents and flees Verona for Paris in the best way possible - with her best friends, in the most incredible outfits!

1st March was my first performance seeing Grace Mouat as Juliet, rather than the incredible Miriam-Teak Lee. I was apprehensive as to how she would compare to the powerhouse that is Miriam, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did her vocals wow, but I found that I preferred the childlike naivety she brought to the role. I also thought the chemistry between Grace and Jordan Luke Gage (Romeo) was electric, so their duet of One More Try had me completely transfixed.

Romeo (Gage) shines brightly in the second half of the show. His one-liner's and complete obliviousness make him hard not to love. "Oh, do not say banishED", is a line that will forever make me cry with laughter. Aside from the douche-like exterior, Romeo has the softest heart and I see him as quite a vulnerable soul. His arc throughout act two is one that will leave you rooting for him - and it goes without saying, his voice is sensational.

Francois (Mahendran) and May's (Dineen) rendition of I Kissed a Girl is one of the most fantastic spectacles I've seen on stage. It really captures the magic of the moment they're experiencing. A special mention to Dineen's rendition of Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman - it gives me goosebumps every time.

Grace Mouat, Kirstie Skivington, Nathan Dineen, Jordan Luke Gage, Melanie la Barrie

Nurse (La Barrie) and Lance's (Bedella) performance of Teenage Dream/Break Free always gets the most sensational audience reaction. It's a very clever piece of theatre; and the casting is perfect. Shakespeare (Tompsett) and Anne (Skivington) truly are a sight to see. Kirstie Skivington is the most incredible Anne, in my opinion. And it feels like a privilege every time to hear her belting, "That's the Way It Is". 

With a jukebox musical, you expect a rowdy, misbehaved audience - but that is definitely not the case with & Juliet. The audience get involved when asked, sing along when encouraged to and get lost in the pure magic of this production.

Oliver Tompsett and Kirstie Skivington
The costumes are worthy of a mention. Every character, in every costume, is ridiculously iconic. But Juliet's "Roar" outfit is one of the most incredible costumes I've ever seen. The music is so intricately woven into the show and changed so subtlety, but they somehow feel so different to the songs we already know so well. There's a completely new take on them all, and let me just say - pop songs sung in the musical theatre genre is one of my new favourite things!

The best way to sum up this show is a show of female empowerment, with a whole load of pink...and a shit ton of glitter! While it's a comedy and stays light-hearted throughout, it does tackle some important themes such as gender, sexuality, marital problems and grief. It's a production that's full of heart and soul, and with the cast changing at the end of the month, I'm excited to see what the new cast members bring to their roles.

You can buy tickets to & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre, London, here: & JULIET TICKETS

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