BWW Review: Can Can's ROMEO + JULIET Sizzles

BWW Review: Can Can's ROMEO + JULIET Sizzles
Joel Domenico in Can Can's
Romeo + Juliet.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

It may be cold outside but it is so very hot inside the Can Can with their dazzling production of "Romeo + Juliet". But this is not your typical R+J with its rockin' vocals, thumpin' beat, and just the highlights of a storyline. Oh, and did I mention the cast seems to have trouble keeping their clothes on?

Those naughty kids at the Can Can have reimagined Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet" into a rich wonderland of music, comedy, pathos and sex. The cast undulates to an incredible original electronic soundtrack flourished with programmed, sampled, and live instrumentation featuring elements of classical, pop, big band, and more from the minds of Pink and Pezzner (Chris Pink and Dave Pezzner) with additional production by Justin Hartinger. But lest you think this is just burlesque number after burlesque number with the names Romeo and Juliet slapped on, think again. You do get the story, in a sense. In fact, the show begins with a musical rundown of the tale and then recaps the highlights of that tale with stunning pieces of song and dance. There's, of course, the ever-present nurse trying to get Juliet dressed for the ball. We're invited to the secret wedding and then invited into their bedroom after (Oh MY!). Those hot heads Tybalt and Mercutio, of course, have their duel in the form of a naked dance fight (really the way it ought to be done). And yes, the lovers do (SPOILER ALERT) die at the end in a mass of love, confusion, grief, and a Beatles tune.

The fact that they can pull all this off in the tiny Can Can space is a wonder and a testament to the scenic designers Jonathan Betchtel and JC Bedard as well as the lighting from Robert Aguilar and amazing projections from TJ Davis. And let's not forget the erotically charged and superb choreography from Fae Phaelen Pink who managed to keep all those dancers tightly moving on and about that stage like a well-oiled machine.

BWW Review: Can Can's ROMEO + JULIET Sizzles
Shay Jenkins, Elise Landles, and
Shadou Mintrone in Can Can's
Romeo + Juliet.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

But it's this beautiful cast we've come to see and we do get to see quite a bit of them. Jonathan Betchtel, introduces us to this world and you'll be hard pressed to find a sexier, funnier, and more gregarious ginger hunk as he messes with the audience while keeping the tale on track. And maybe if you're lucky you can pet his peacock. Shay Jenkins and Shadou Mintrone pull double and even triple duty as many different denizens of Verona but it's that aforementioned duel between Tybalt and Mercutio where they truly shone. Equal parts acrobatic and erotic this limber duo take fight choreography to a whole new level. But the show is called "Romeo + Juliet" so how about our star-crossed lovers? Elise Landles as Juliet is vibrant and bubbly and quite the epitome of a young girl in love. And how could she not be with the dreamy Joel Domenico as her Romeo with his sultry singing voice and his tendency to show off his rippling muscles? And the two of them together are magic whether it's with their oh so sensual honeymoon scene (is it hot in here or is it just them?) or their heartbreaking final moments.

I've been to a few burlesque shows over the years and they're always fun, but this one goes beyond a string of numbers with a theme. This one ventures into the world of classic theater and does it with humor and heart. And yes, a bunch of beautiful people getting naked. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Can Can's "Romeo + Juliet" a sexy dreamlike YAY+. And not to worry, the lovers don't stay dead long in this version.

"Romeo + Juliet" performs at Can Can through April 29th. For tickets or information contact the Can Can box office at 877-280-7831 or visit them online at

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