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My wife and I were looking to book something special to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and came across a fun theater show called & Juliet which is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The theater’s website said it was suitable for ages six and up, and my wife called the theater to check if it would be suitable for our girls, ages eight and 11. They gave him assurances, so we reserved four seats.
A few minutes later, it became clear that the program was not what we expected. Some very adult themes were explored, as well as some colorful language that we were not comfortable with our girls being exposed to.
After about 45 minutes we left the place, our daughters in tears. We believe that you have left a lasting impression on them. The last thing my oldest daughter said to me when she went to bed that night was that she couldn’t get some of the things she was seeing and hearing out of her head and wished she hadn’t witnessed them.
I feel that the producers of this show have no right to expose young children to this without their parents’ knowledge or consent. I have been in contact with the theater and the producers, who do not accept that they have a duty to care for their clients or have misrepresented the sale of tickets to minors.
I strongly believe that the producers and the theater must be held accountable so that no other family finds itself in this position.
– KM, via email
The official & Juliet page on the Shaftesbury Theater website describes the show as a “stunning journey of self-discovery.” The age range is described as “over six years” and there are no specific warnings about adult themes, strong language, or any other issues that may cause concern. But as an added measure to verify that the production was age-appropriate, he says his wife called the theater to ask. After this call, you booked the tickets.
However, none of you researched the production online beforehand. Had he done so, he would have found that the story was heavily centered on issues of sexuality, with transgender themes running prominently. You say you were surprised when the script contained references to sex and virginity, depictions of one-night stands, and jokes about a man “riding his wife.” You say you didn’t like having to explain the phrase “fucking man” to your 11-year-old son when you got home, either.
While you say that you are not a prude and would have no qualms about bringing older children to watch the show, you felt that this content was too mature for elementary school age children.
The other thing that made you uncomfortable was the foul language. You say f‑‑‑ was used once or twice, among other rude words you didn’t want your girls to hear. I haven’t watched the show, but a couple of other reviews I found online also complained about the use of the f‑‑‑ and s‑‑‑ words in relation to the six-year-old age limit, raising questions about appropriateness. of the program.
He complained to the Shaftesbury Theatre, which conveyed his concerns to Greene Light Stage, the production company. He responded by saying that while the company “respects your opinion on what’s right for your children,” it presented as much information about the production as possible to allow people to make the best decisions for themselves.
However, with no warnings about adult content or strong language appearing on the show’s official Shaftesbury Theater page, I find it hard to agree that it couldn’t have done more.
Greene Light Stage suggested that it was up to you to have done more research on the show ahead of time. This really backed you up, so you wrote to me.
When I reached out to a Greene Light Stage representative to ask how the show’s age limit had been set, they refused to answer. They also declined to confirm what profanity appeared in their script, whether other parents had complained about adult themes, and whether the age limit had recently been lowered from 12, as an online article seemed to say.
She came to me because she felt this company was being unreasonable in not accepting that she had ruined her daughter’s birthday by deceptively selling her this program. Greene Light Stage told her that he respected her opinion, but her handling of the case leads me to question this.
If so, you need to wake up. The bottom line is that productions containing adult content and swearing should include a warning to alert parents and this one did not.