& Juliet has made its sensational Asian premiere at the Sands Theatre in Singapore, and the buzz surrounding this musical is absolutely justified. This modern twist on the classic Romeo and Juliet story, infused with a generous dose of pop music by legendary Swedish record producer and songwriter, Max Martin, has taken the theatrical world by storm and now graces the Singaporean stage.
We love it and would highly recommend it to all. The only people we can foresee hating it would be conservatives against LGBT narratives and uppity music snobs who absolutely hate pop music. Otherwise, there is really no reason not to enjoy & Juliet.
Let’s dive into what makes this show a must-see.
1. A Jukebox of Chart-Toppers
With over 30 songs penned by Max Martin, the Swedish pop powerhouse, & Juliet boasts an extensive musical catalog that’s a treat for your ears. These songs, ranging from the 90s to contemporary hits, are masterfully integrated into the storyline, breathing fresh life into iconic tracks from the likes of Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and more. It’s like a high-energy karaoke party where the audience can’t help but sing along.
Songs like “Since U Been Gone”, “Roar”, “Baby One More Time”, “Larger Than Life”, “That’s The Way It Is” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, yes these were all written by Martin.
2. A Feminist Reimagining
& Juliet isn’t just about the music; it’s also a reimagining of the classic tale, posing the intriguing question: What if Juliet lived?
The narrative unfolds as Juliet discovers her husband’s less-than-faithful ways and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love on her terms. This feminist twist, though sometimes simplified, adds depth and relevance to the story, making it feel more relatable and empowering.
3. A Diverse and Inclusive Cast
The diverse and inclusive cast brings the characters to life with passion and talent. It is worth noting that many cast members are of different races and ethnicities, and the production embraces gender diversity.
May, a non-binary character portrayed by Jesse Dutlow, is a standout example of how the musical celebrates gender nonconformity, providing a heartfelt and authentic representation.
4. A Joyful Celebration
& Juliet is unapologetically fun and exuberant. It is unabashedly campy, loud and colourful.
It captures the essence of a pop concert, complete with confetti cannons, dazzling lights, and tightly choreographed dance numbers. The performances are stellar, with actors like Lorinda May Merrypor (Juliet), Amy Lehpamer (Anne), Rob Mills (Shakespeare), Hayden Tee (Lance) and Yashith Fernando (Francois) delivering powerful and memorable portrayals.
5. Max Martin’s Musical Brilliance
Max Martin’s songs are the heart and soul of the show, expertly integrated into the plot with humour and creativity.
The hardcore music critics may disagree, but these hits, once the soundtrack of our lives, are now the backbone of a musical that radiates joy and nostalgia. It’s a testament to Martin’s prowess as a pop music maestro.
6. Visual Splendor
While the visuals of & Juliet are a mixed bag, Paloma Young’s costume design is a standout, seamlessly blending historical elements with contemporary flair.
The costumes are a visual treat, and the attention to detail is impeccable.
7. A Queer and Inclusive Narrative
The musical does not shy away from celebrating queer joy, gender diversity, and inclusivity.
Characters like May and Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare’s wife, not the Hollywood actress) challenge traditional gender roles and contribute to the show’s progressive and modern vibe.
8. A Message of Self-Definition
At its core, & Juliet delivers a message of self-discovery and empowerment.
It reminds us that we do not need someone else to define who we are. It’s a celebration of love and laughter with a resonant message of self-definition.
9. A Juicy Broadway Experience in Singapore
& Juliet has brought the essence of Broadway to Singapore, and it is an experience that should not be missed. It is a show that combines the magic of theater with the energy of a pop concert, making it a must-see for Singaporean audiences.