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& Juliet, 2019
Photograph: Michael WharleyJordan Luke Gage (Romeo) and Miriam-Teak Lee (Juliet)

Want to feel more cheerful? Make peace with musicals

Andrzej Lukowski

Theatre editor Andrzej Łukowski hates jazz hands as much as you do, but even he finds these two shows make him feel amazing.

'If, for you, the expression ‘feelgood musical’ triggers a sensation of blood-curdling horror, don’t worry. You don’t have to endure the hen-do grimness of ‘Mamma Mia!’ to find something upbeat.

‘& Juliet’ absolutely is that typical jukebox musical, but it’s a parody: a preposterously OTT, wilfully trashy rewrite of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that’s stuffed with the pop hits of Max Martin.

Yes, it’s silly, but it is intensely knowing about it. If you’d like something less arch but still fun, look no further than ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. The last big home-grown smash musical, it’s a feisty but heart-warming tale inspired by the true story of a Sheffield teen who decided to live an unconventional life, with catchy songs.

Both will make life sweeter, without a nasty sugar comedown.'

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