10 Reasons fans of The Lovers must see Romeo and Juliet

Did you love The Lovers last year? Was it your Bell Shakespeare highlight? We've compiled a list of reasons why you must see Peter Evans' new Romeo and Juliet, in The Neilson Nutshell.

By Andy McLean



1. Musicals are in its DNA…

In Romeo And Juliet, our actors strut with a little more sass than you might expect. And there’s a reason for that. Musical theatre maestro Simone Sault has been a key collaborator on this production. She’s coached our cast in choreography and movement, informed by her work on the likes of Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

2. …and its DNA is in musicals

Through the years, Romeo And Juliet has inspired a bunch of musicals, including West Side Story and &Juliet. The former has been dazzling Broadway since the 1950s and was adapted for the silver screen in 1961 (winning ten Oscars) and in 2021 (directed by Steven Spielberg). Meanwhile, &Juliet took London’s West End by storm in 2019, snagged a bunch of awards, and hit the stage in Melbourne this year.

3. There’s no gender agenda

The Lovers broke with tradition by casting female actors in the male lead roles (Oberon and Puck) and both actors smashed it out of the park. Now we’ve pulled off a similar trick with Romeo And Juliet. Director Peter Evans has not cast the play according to gender or age, but according to spirit. Which means Blazey Best landed the roles of Mercutio and the Prince, while Alex King scored the role of Romeo’s love rival, Paris.

4. There’s original music by an Aussie composer

The Lovers gave Aussie composer and lyricist Laura Murphy a chance to shine. Now Romeo And Juliet sees Max Lyandvert step up as composer and sound designer. His knowledge extends to just about every corner of the known musical universe, so his Romeo And Juliet soundscape has something for everyone. In one scene, you might hear a cinematic string quartet, in the next it could be trip hop or electronica. Our tip? Expect the unexpected.

5. Romeo and Juliet is 50% pure comedy

The first half of Romeo And Juliet plays out like a comedy. It’s packed with more wisecracks and wordplay (read: sexual innuendo) than you could shake a quill at. Remember Puck in The Lovers? Well, Mercutio in Romeo And Juliet is like Puck’s long-lost cousin. Mischief and mayhem follow him until (spoiler alert) his final breath, halfway through the play.

6. The other 50% is pure heartbreak

The moment Mercutio dies, Romeo And Juliet lurches headlong into the most famous doomed romance in the English language. If Hermia’s plight tugged your heartstrings in The Lovers, then Juliet’s predicament will break your heart in two.

7. There are stacks of awkward laughs

If you liked hot mess Helena in The Lovers, you’ll adore the Nurse in Romeo And Juliet. Lucy Bell revels in the role, playing Juliet’s confidante with a combination of maternal warmth, dodgy advice, and smutty jokes. The Nurse is the worst best friend you ever had – unswervingly loyal, well-intentioned (but misguided), and always putting her foot in it.

8. It speaks the international language of lurve

The Lovers had audiences swooning over Shakespeare’s soaring speeches and devoted declarations. Those lines were borrowed from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the Bard saved some of his greatest hits for Romeo And Juliet. From the masked ball to the balcony scene to the tearjerking finale, this play contains love poetry to die for.

9. It’s an excuse to dress to the nines

From fresh hues to statement shapes, our audiences at The Lovers raised the sartorial standard for theatre wear. Now, the masked ball at the start of Romeo and Juliet is this season's invitation for audiences to be fashion forward again. Move over Met Gala.

10. You could smell the sweet scent of (prize-winning) victory

Question: What’s better than a delightful Aesop pampering gift pack?
Answer: Winning a delightful Aesop pampering gift pack that is named after a line from Romeo and Juliet! If you attended The Lovers and you purchase tickets for Romeo and Juliet, you can enter a prize draw for the chance to win one of three ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ Aesop sets including A Rose By Any Other Name Body Cleanser, Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm and Resurrection Aromantique Hand Balm. Terms and conditions apply.

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Rehearsal gallery from Bell Shakespeare's 2023 production

Tickets selling fast

Bell Shakespeare’s new production of Romeo And Juliet will be staged in Sydney (23 Jun – 27 Aug) and Melbourne (13 – 29 Jul).

Stay tuned

Video interviews with Romeo And Juliet’s cast and creatives will be dropping on social media in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And to keep tabs on all our news and announcements, sign up to Bell Shakespeare’s enewsletters.