Reviews for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London are starting to come in and they are pretty good!
This new musical penned by Schitt’s Creek writer David West Read set to Swedish songwriter, record producer and singer Max Martin’s legendary pop catalogue, reimagines Shakespeare’s tragic characters in very different circumstances.
Starring Miriam-Teak Lee (Hamilton) in the title role, Lee gives a powerhouse performance as Juliet, alongside an extremely strong cast including West End favourite Oliver Tompsett as Shakespeare and Cassidy Janson as Anne Hathaway.
Max Martin’s iconic pop songs including Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody,” and The Weekend’s “I Can’t Feel My Face” are just some of the tunes played in the fun loving silly musical comedy.
& Juliet is directed by Luke Sheppard (In the Heights), with a book by David West Read (Schitt’s Creek), choreography by Jennifer Weber, and new arrangements by Grammy and Tony award-winning orchestrator Bill Sherman.
Read a round-up of theatre reviews for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre, below.
& Juliet reviews
"Camp and unsubtle but this glittery fever dream of a musical shines"
"The plot and message of female empowerment are pretty thin but this jukebox musical is an absolute blast and features a powerful turn from Miriam-Teak Lee."
"Each number is staged with frantic energy and laser precision by director Luke Sheppard and choreographer Jennifer Weber."
"Pop mogul Max Martin's bizarre jukebox bonanza"
"Songs of the prolific Swedish tunesmith are shoehorned into a silly Shakespeare-derived story for this misguided West End musical"
"A gloriously silly, unexpectedly poignant production"
"Built around the powerhouse-pop of songwriting savant Max Martin, the jukebox musical imagines a world where Shakespeare’s Juliet survived"
"The apotheosis of the jukebox musical"
"Having covered all three Schuyler sisters in Hamilton, The Stage Debut Award winner Miriam-Teak Lee now gets to shine in her own right – and, bloody hell, does she. Her voice is something to be reckoned with. At one moment, during her performance of Roar, she exudes a pure electric charge."
"It's essentially glorified panto"
"While this show isn’t in the same league as Mamma Mia! by fellow Swedes Abba, those with a willing ear for his brand of shiny pop should enjoy hearing his bangers rendered at high volume and landing with a swaggering, truant disposition."
"Part of me thinks this feelgood extravaganza might just prove the new We Will Rock You"
"The bard goes bubblegum"
"A fun, feminist makeover of Romeo and Juliet chooses life – with a great pop soundtrack"
"The amusing twists and turns are bolstered by seismic pop hits by the Swedish super-producer and writer Max Martin. The play weaves a selection of his best-known tracks, including hits he created for Britney Spears (...Baby One More Time and Oops!... I Did It Again), Ariana Grande (Break Free, Problem) and Kesha (Blow). Each song is performed earnestly but with the sense that everyone is aware how hilariously the songs intersect with the narrative..."
"& Juliet packs a lot of fun into its sharp, witty story of self-discovery. Its best message? That bubblegum pop, far from being manufactured filler, is a worthy accompaniment to the greatest of storytellers."
"Joyously daft musical riff on ‘Romeo & Juliet’, based on the hits of pop maestro Max Martin"
"& Juliet is a heavily ironic Shakespeare rewrite based on the songs of super-producer Max Martin. And with the gift of that knowledge, I can fairly confidently state that you’ll probably like ‘& Juliet’ almost precisely as much as you expect to like & Juliet."
"Knockout vocals drive a camp revamp of “Romeo and Juliet," featuring the songs of Max Martin"
"Silly and serious, “& Juliet” wants to have its cake and to eat it too. Yet for all its many flaws, it’s hard not to cave in to its determination to add some thought to its undeniably feel-good factor."
"Shakespeare on steroids is not for the sober"
"This musical inspired by Shakespeare’s tale of star-cross’d lovers is, you see, anything but subtle. It’s loud, irreverent and camp"
"Ludicrously fun jukebox musical mashes up Britney, Pink and N'Sync"
"Max Martin musical mashes up his greatest pop hits with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to delirious effect."
"Prepare to leave your grumbles, worries (and history books) at the door. This is a bonkers romp through the most famous love story of all time via some of the biggest pop songs of all time. It doesn't always make sense but it is a ridiculous amount of fun and performed with enormous charm by a talented young cast."
"Max Martin’s musical & Juliet is bright, brash and a gazillion times camper than Christmas"
"For all its iconoclastic swagger, this show is neither edgy, nor cool. It is, though, rambunctious fun"
"... a jukebox musical with the broad humour and fairy tale sentiment of a pantomime, plus a generous dash of The X Factor in its bombastic parade of numbers made famous by the likes of Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and the Backstreet Boys. For all its iconoclastic swagger, in truth the show is neither edgy, nor cool. It is, though, rambunctious fun, with a storming star performance by Miriam-Teak Lee that joyously celebrates young women everywhere – or, as one of the hyper-energised supporting players puts it, 'female empowerment – sick!'"