JULIE: the Musical

Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: The Other Palace, London
Cast: Sam Kearney-Edwardes, Melinda Orengo, Abey Bradbury and Zachary Pang 

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.

Featuring Live Music, Comedy, Tap Dancing Sword Fights, Twerking Nuns, Kazoo Choruses…and that’s just the first half!

Coming back to continue to tell the story of Julie D’Aubigny, JULIE the Musical graces the studio space of The Other Palace for a short, but impactful run. With book, lyrics, and composition by Abey Bradbury, and produced and under the direction of Conor Dye, this fierce comedic tale gets the spotlight once more.

I’m beginning to realise that most reviews I do I go in with little to no knowledge of the show I am seeing. This show is no exception. The blurb alone intrigued me. I can say with ease that I was not disappointed. A comedic and dramatic retelling of a famous opera singer from the 1700’s, who is queer and reminds us that the B in LGBTQ does in fact exist; what Abey Bradbury has done is pure genius! Combine this with the fabulous talent taking on the roles of various characters, I’m questioning why it has such a limited run. Upon walking into the studio space and seeing the stage for the first time, the words out of my mouth were ‘goth heaven’, and that is also attributed to the lighting on the stage.

Realistically, there isn't too much of a set. It’s minimal and once the show begins you understand its concept and structure. I do think that what was there did give homage to the 1700s era in which this story takes place. With this being set when it is, you may be thinking the costuming and language would be within that era, however, it is not. Julie is portrayed as this badass girl who does what she wants, when she wants.

This brings me to the incredible four person cast led by Sam Kearney-Edwardes as Julie. Kearney-Edwardes' portrayal of the titular character is nothing short of phenomenal. Their way of bringing comedy, as well as emotional breakdown is uncanny. Paired with a sensational voice, Sam Kearney-Edwardes is going places. The cast as a whole is just fiercely talented and knows how to work a stage well. Not only are these four playing their main roles, but they play various other characters within Julie’s story and act as the band too. Jack-of-all-trades? Honestly, go see it for yourself! The music is a perfect mix of upbeat, heartfelt and catchy.

There was a sense of breaking the fourth wall throughout the show. Sometimes this can be cringey and not tastefully done, however for this show, it worked incredibly well; as did the audience participation. One audience member even got to play a dead corpse: “can you bring your arms across your chest…thanks”. At points it does seem improvised, I found this very clever, especially mixed with the audience participation.

JULIE the Musical is comedic, entertaining, and gives a good lesson about being yourself. This production was thoroughly well done by all involved. From the breaking of the fourth wall, to the journey Julie goes through, you almost realise although seeing her story through her eyes, there is a sense of slight delusion. It's just marvellously captivating! Another show that I wish did not have such a limited run.

You can book tickets to see JULIE: the Musical, here.

Review by Dani

**photo credit: Ben Wilkin**

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