Review of and Juliet at the Opera House Manchester
& Juliet has opened at the Opera House Manchester and we were kindly invited along to check it out. Read to discover what we thought.
This new musical has been showing at the Opera House Manchester for the last three weeks, whilst previewing before moving to the West End in November.
& Juliet tells the story of what would have happened if Juliet had decided not to die with Romeo, but to take her fate into her own hands. I have to say that I have never been a fan of Shakespeare's plays being modernised or altered and thought I would not come away a fan, I was very wrong.
The show begins with William Shakespeare (Oliver Tompsett) entering the stage and being treated like a celebrity, whilst he reveals the ending of his new play Romeo and Juliet. However to his dismay, his fans are not as enthusiastic as he would like especially his wife Anne Hathaway (Cassidy Janson) who suggests an alternative ending where Juliet doesn't die.
The story then follows Juliet as she gets a second chance at life, whilst Shakespeare and Anne battle it out to decide how Juliet's fate should be written. Taking it away from it's tragic begginings the show is set to some of amazing pop anthems by the legendary Max Martin mixed with a good dose of humour.
Although set in the 1500's & Juliet is full of modern themes with female empowerment sprinkled throughout, with Anne challenging if Shakespear is a 'strong enough man to write a strong woman' and touching gender identity.
As in all good musicals, a lot of the story is told through song and & Juliet does this well. Max Martin's hits cleverly and comedically flow with the script. With highlights including Shakespeare and Anna arguing with Back Street Boys 'I Want It That Way' and Juliet and her friends shooting down her suiter with 'Since You've Been Gone'.
The lyrics were certainly in good hands or should we say voices. Miriam-Teak Lea's vocals were second to non as she showed off her range from rapping to hitting the high notes.to hitting the high notes.
Cassidy Janson's (Anna), Melanie La Barrie as the Nurse and Tim Mahendran as Francois also deserve a mention for their great singing perfomances and bringing a new spin to the well loved hits, which had everyone singing and dancing along.
Janson and La Barrie, however, did not just wow with their voices. Both had amazing comedy timing with La Barrie playing off David Bedella (Lance) perfectly which had everyone laughing out loud.
The modern take on the story also saw a modern twist on the costumes which mixed historic silouttes with newer fabrics and styles, which fit perfectly. The set, lighting and effects could only be described as spectacular with smoke bubbles, a flying moon swing and giant coloured spheres bringing a magical presence.
After a show which had the audience engaged throughout it came as no surprise that the cast were greeted with a standing ovation, which was well deserved.
& Juliet is definitley one not to miss.
& Juliet will be running at the Opera House Manchester until Saturday 12th October. For more information and how to book tickets see here.