Shakespeare Reborn: The Innovative Spirit of &Juliet

& Juliet, at Sydney Lyric Theatre, is a theatrical masterpiece, breathing new life into the iconic Shakespearean tale with a twist that captivates and delights. This show doesn’t just retell a familiar story; it daringly reinvents it, offering audiences a narrative as empowering as it is entertaining.

At its heart, the show asks a bold question: What if Juliet’s tragic demise was merely the start of her true journey? This premise launches a tale that seamlessly weaves together love and destiny, challenging traditional storytelling norms while paying tribute to its roots. With its blend of historic charm and contemporary flair, the show captures the audience’s imagination from the first note and holds it spellbound through to its exhilarating finale.

Under the direction of Luke Sheppard, & Juliet transcends the boundaries of conventional theatre to become a dynamic, pulsating experience. Sheppard’s direction is a masterclass in balance—between humour and heartache, spectacle and subtlety, innovation and homage. He crafts scenes with meticulous precision, ensuring that each moment is both visually arresting and emotionally resonant. His vision for the show is ambitious, yet it’s executed with such finesse that it feels effortlessly enthralling.

The set, designed by Soutra Gilmour, encapsulates the essence of the narrative’s duality—melding the Elizabethan with the contemporary in a dazzling display of creativity and innovation. Paloma Young’s costumes are a riot of colour, creativity, and historical juxtaposition. They beautifully encapsulate the essence of each character, adding layers of depth and personality that transcend the script.

The cast brings this innovative narrative to life with vivacity and unparalleled talent. As a delightfully unlikeable Shakespeare, Rob Mills navigates the complex layers of his character with a compelling blend of arrogance and vulnerability. Opposite him, Amy Lehpamer’s portrayal of Anne, Shakespeare’s wife, is a tour de force—her performance imbues the show with a grounded, poignant authenticity. Casey Donovan, as Angélique, lights up the stage with her presence, delivering a powerful and profoundly moving performance. Blake Appelqvist’s portrayal of a dumb, self-absorbed Romeo is hilariously on point, offering comic relief while showcasing Appelqvist’s considerable range. At the show’s heart is Lorinda May Merrypor, whose Juliet is a revelation. Merrypor’s performance is not just seen; it’s felt—her cracker vocals and nuanced acting ensure that Juliet’s journey is not just followed but fervently cheered on.

& Juliet is more than a show; it’s a theatrical renaissance that Sydney has been yearning for. After several years of recycled “big seller shows”, & Juliet brings a fresh take to the stage with its bold and innovative direction, spectacular design, and a cast that delivers each line and lyric with unmatched passion and precision. This show doesn’t just entertain; it resonates, leaving audiences with a lingering sense of wonder, empowerment, and the thrilling possibility of rewriting one’s destiny. It is not just a must-see; it’s a must-experience—a jubilant celebration of life, love, and the power of storytelling.

– The other Daniel Craig


Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig

& Juliet runs for two hours and 30 minutes (including 20 min interval) and plays at the Sydney Lyric Theatre through 16 June 2024. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Michael Cassel Group.
Image credit: Daniel Boud.