& Juliet, Manchester Opera House | Review

October 01, 2019

& Juliet
Manchester Opera House
Reviewed by Mia Goddard

& Juliet is the fun-loving new musical that asks: what if Juliet’s famous ending was really just her beginning? What if she decided to choose her own fate?
Soaring with pop anthems including …”Baby One More Time”, “Everybody” (Backstreet’s Back), “Love Me Like You Do” and “Roar”, & Juliet is one of the best new musicals out there.
This modern version of the classic tale ‘Romeo and Juliet’ began in Manchester at the Opera House on September 10th, soon to open on the West End November 2nd, and sees Juliet get over Romeo by running off to Paris with her Nurse and best friends on a trip of romance and self-discovery.
The show begins with an introduction to Shakespeare himself describing the ending to his famous tragedy, before his wife Anne steps in, asking “What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?”, beginning the new ending to Juliet’s story.
Cassidy Janson as Anne and Oliver Tompsett as Shakespeare take on both narrator and player roles within the show which is executed perfectly as they weave themselves in and out of the story. Both are perfectly cast, and bounce off each other wonderfully. Tompsett is charismatic and hits the mark when it comes to comedy timing and Janson is excellent in communicating a story that gives women the strength they deserve.
Juliet herself is played by the marvellous Miriam-Teak Lee who is a vocal powerhouse. She has an incredibly rich and powerful range which seems effortless. She also provides some memorable comedy moments which had the audience in fits of laughter.
Other very impressive vocal performances come from Cassidy Janson as Anne and Melanie La Barrie as the Nurse who both brought Max Martin’s famous hits to life beautifully.
Juliet’s best friend May is played remarkably by Arun Blair-Mangat who has the most powerful vocals. He performs one of the stand out songs of the show, ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Women’, which is full of emotion.
Tim Mahendran is equally as excellent as Francois, adding the perfect plot twist to Juliet’s story. His performance is so honest and delightful to watch and he too has naturally stunning vocals.

David Badella and Melaine La Barrie as Lance and Nurse are the perfect comedy duo, who are a joy to watch, and who had the whole audience laughing during their outrageously funny duet ‘Teenage Dream/Break Free’.
Jordan Luke Gage gives us a very different interpretation of Romeo as we see he may not be as innocent as he seems, which is spectacular to watch. His outstanding entrance at the end of act one with ‘It’s My Life’ is the most perfect ending to the act.
This show wouldn’t be as brilliant if it weren’t for the incredible ensemble. They deliver Jennifer Weber’s astounding choreography brilliantly with such precision and provide the most stunning harmonies. They enter the stage shortly before the start of the show and interact with the audience, which is very different from the traditional curtain rise. This led to a more immersive experience that the audience felt truly a part of.
The set design is truly beautiful and continues to amaze the audience as the show develops. The costume designs are simply stunning with such detail and are a perfect mix of period and modern times.
It’s hard to believe that these songs weren’t written specifically for the show as they fit with the entire story excellently, whilst the script blends both tender moments and comedy perfectly.
& Juliet is the brand new feel-good musical which teaches us all about honest and self-love which will put a smile on your face right from the first note. Sensational from start to finish.

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