On the 24th December 2021, I attended a performance of ‘& Juliet’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London: the show that modernises Shakespeare’s famous ‘Romeo and Juliet’... but without the Romeo.  


The show centres around the characters of Shakespeare and his wife - Anne, who wants to change the story he has written. The new, women-empowering plot centres around Juliet and, instead of dying after seeing Romeo has passed away, she decides to continue with her life - this is where the new story begins.


Along with its unexpected storyline, the musical highlights a sense of comedy through the character of Anne, who puts herself into the story as an extra character. Unlike other shows, the ‘& Juliet’ soundtrack does not consist of original songs but covers of well known music where lyrics are slightly adapted to fit the circumstance, adding comedic value through puns and wordplay. An audience member stated the music was 'thrilling and inclusive' for all ages due to songs being popular in the media. I enjoyed this aspect as the audience was able to sing along with the music and this helped to incorporate a modern element of this Shakespearean production.


Moreover, I also enjoyed the costume design and also how the show seemed to cater for all audiences. The costumes were designed spectacularly, including traditional Shakespearean clothing while enhancing them with a 21st century twist, consisting of glitter, headwear, and bright colours. There were a few costume changes during dances, making the performance feel almost magical. In addition, the story highlighted main themes of feminism, LGBTQ+ representation, and of course romance to make the production accepting and of interest for all viewers.


Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance of ‘& Juliet’ through the modern feminist storyline and the encapsulating musical numbers. The character of Juliet provided a strong female lead, creating contrast to Shakespeare's famous ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and proving popular among audience members.