JULIE: the Musical

Venue: The Other Palace, London
Cast: Sophie Coward, Sam Kearney-Edwardes, Fabian Soto Pacheco, Georgia Leila Stoller and Alexander Tilley

JULIE: The Musical is a brand new, original musical telling the life and adventures of historical LGBTQ+ icon Julie D’Aubigny. Julie D’Aubigny is down in history as one of the most chaotic characters to have ever lived – one of the first public figures to live as an openly bisexual woman, she seduced nuns, duelled multiple men at once, burnt down convents, was bribed by princes, innovated opera – all before she turned 30.

JULIE: The Musical celebrates this extraordinary life, Queerness and carving a place for yourself in a world not built for you.

With historical musicals on the rise, with hits such as Hamilton and SIX storming the UK, it's time to make way for another overlooked historical figure - Julie D'Aubigny. When you see her name, you probably don't immediately think, "renowned swordswoman, worshipped opera singer and flaming bisexual"...but that's exactly what she was!

The story follows the tumultuous life and times of Julie D'Aubigny. The best way to describe this musical is organised madness. It simply feels as though you've walked into someone else's dream; but I believe that's exactly the direction you're supposed to be taken in. From setting dead nuns on fire, to duelling three men at the same time - Julie was a livewire, and it's astonishing to think this musical is based on a true story. I hardly feel as though the story needs any further introduction; just trust when I say that it needs to be seen to be believed!

While the small cast of five are all brilliant, Sam Kearney-Edwardes is absolutely phenomenal. From the opening number, they interact with the audience with understated ease. I found myself drawn to them whenever they were on stage; whether they were the focal point or not. Their facial expressions, body language and tone all helped to provide one of the greatest performances I've seen in musical theatre. Their outstanding performance made me feel empowered to be a pansexual woman.

What's unique about this show is that as well as playing multiple characters, the cast play their own music. In fact, all cast members play numerous instruments! From the kazoo, to the ukulele, to the sax, to the flute - the use of instruments is exceptionally vast. And I must take a moment to talk about the modern take on 17th century fashion - anyone else obsessed with the white (and purple for Julie, naturally) high-heeled boots?!

While the two hour running time felt slightly too long, and some of the hits aren't particularly memorable, this does nothing to take away from what a fantastic piece of theatre this is. Standout numbers for me were "On the Run" and "For the Love of God". However, "Breathe Again" was a quiet, vulnerable moment in the chaos.

The LBGTQ+ representation in the musical is the best I've seen in musical theatre for a long time. With lines such as "I don't see gender", male/female identifying roles being played by all actors, and the story being based on a 17th century "flaming bisexual" icon - it's a true LGBTQ+ celebration

This is musical theatre escapism at it's finest. It's a gloriously chaotic new musical that's full of wonderful LGBTQ+ representation and a celebration of a forgotten icon; glam rock style! If you're looking for a musical full of controversy, comedy and chaos - JULIE: the Musical is the show for you!

You can catch JULIE: the Musical at The Other Palace this week only, here.

photo credit: Andrew AB Photography

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