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Julie the Musical | The Other Palace

Julie D’Aubigny has gone down in history for many reasons, and not all of them the most sensible. Openly bisexual in the 17th Century, this famous French Opera singer has become known for pushing against boundaries. From donning more masculine attire to challenging multiple men to sword fights, Julie certainly turned a few heads back in the day. Strong, sensational and not the least bit chaotic, this show has given sense to the word ‘revival’ as Julie is reborn to tell her story the way she wanted it told (it is her show after all, isn’t it?)

With a fantastic cast of four (Abey Bradbury, Sam Kearney-Edwardes, Melinda Orengo and Zachary Pang) and brilliant aptitude for multi-rolling, this musical about defying the odds brought tears as well as uproars of laughter. Every cast member is exceptionally gifted in music as they each get the opportunity to play several instruments. The group regularly rotate around a few instruments - electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussions, and a cello - showcasing brilliant musicianship. However, the lack of consistency is quite apparent in this practice, and is further replicated in the storyline.

As Julie tells her story, there is more than one occasion where she breaks the fourth wall by saying ‘let me explain.’ Although quite effective in showcasing the chaotic nature of the character, it also slams the breaks on our understanding of the timeline. However, one cannot remove from the merit of the laughter generated by this practice as it was, all-in-all, an enjoyable experience. It must also be underlined that the fourth wall is broken a lot in act one, making for some moments that felt simultaneously intriguing yet unsettling, especially the Pantomime scenes. Although quite hilarious on the face of it, and no doubt adding to the chaotic nature of the show as you never quite know what to expect, the overall utility of it in the storytelling seems to have gotten lost.

The style of the music is very much rock and upbeat, fairly reminiscent of the music of Six the Musical. Although it is overall an enjoyable soundtrack, it would have been nice to see more experimentation with Julie’s operatic voice, for which there was ample opportunity as most of the music leans towards sung prose rather than the traditional song. This being said, Kearney-Edwardes as Julie slayed in every sense of the word, delivering the most exceptional performance with impeccable comedic timing and enchanting vocals.

The set design and costume very effectively drew parallels from modern styles whilst staying as true to historical accuracy as possible. Both also stayed true to representing the chaotic nature of Julie’s life, showcasing broken arches and half dyed curtains, further reflected in the costumes, which combined modern jeans and boots with corsets.

All things considered, this show certainly has a strong message to convey as well as a good score and book. Moving forward, as this show deserves to be appreciated by large audiences, the book could do with some refining so as to keep the chaos but avoid the confusion, especially towards Act 2.

Julie the Musical runs at The Other Palace until 30th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Ben Wilkin

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