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Diary: How & Juliet gave its jocular star the last laugh

And so to the launch of & Juliet, a new musical that is opening later this year in the West End. Attendees were handed cocktails on arrival, and jelly beans on their way out. If producers were hoping to get them on side immediately, well – it worked.

Tabard hears there were a lot of media and theatre types walking down Shaftesbury Avenue that night slightly tipsy and on a sugar high. It’s a bad combination.

The show stars Oliver Tompsett, who sat down with journalists to explain how the part came along – and here’s where other performers should take heart. For he revealed that, when the show was initially casting, he had not been available as he was in Kinky Boots.

But then that cast was given its notice – unexpectedly. And suddenly he was able to be seen for the role of Shakespeare in the musical. Every cloud, and all that.

Tompsett is delighted to be involved, stating that the role suits his personality.

“I don’t take myself too seriously and I like to make myself the victim or joker,” he says. “People enjoy taking the mickey out of me, but at the same time – and I don’t know if it makes me arrogant – it doesn’t chip away at me.”

A performer who doesn’t take themself seriously. More of those, please!

Oliver Tompsett joins the West End cast of Kinky Boots [1]