Squeezing a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical into the small space of the Finborough may sound ambitious. It becomes even more impressive when you learn that Me and Juliet is a backstage musical which follows the cast of a melodramatic Broadway revue, interspersing the behind-the-scenes drama of the cast with the over-the-top hat and cane, showgirl numbers from the show, which totally fill the space.
Cleverly staged by designer Alex Marker with a constantly moving fourth wall, the audience spends the majority of the show backstage at the theatre with understudy auditions, rehearsals and the personal tribulations of the cast, as well as being transported front of house and even above the stage - too few musicals feature songs sung by follow spot operators on the flyfloor, spotlight in hand above the casts' heads.
The sixteen-strong cast deliver Rodgers' lyrical score with impressively strong vocals across the board, but special mention should be given to Laura Main as the young heroine, pushed towards stardom. Gemma Atkins as the musical comedy star, Stephen McGlynn as her leading man and Jodie Jacobs as the Southern belle all particularly impress.
Not the strongest musical of the Rodgers and Hammerstein stable, the show's protagonist in particular feels undercooked compared to some that the duo created earlier in their partnership. This is a truly impressive production of a show underwritten by the mantra "the show must go on".