Having opened in New York 60 years ago, last nigh The Tab breathed wonderful life into this tragic classic. Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story chronicles the forbidden love affair between Tony and Maria. The heart-wrenching plot is nothing short of tear-jerking and in the capable hands of this particular group, Bernstein’s music, Sondheim’s lyrics, Laurents’ adaptation and Robins’ choreography glowed.
There’s no denying that this is one hell of a tricky score to execute, but under the adept musical direction of Tom Porter, the orchestra sparkled and the cast shone.
One of the standout moments of the whole show was the exuberant choreography, executed incredibly well by this talented ensemble.
In the two leading (and demanding) roles were the more than competent Dan Smith (Tony) and the glorious Beth Berwick-Lowe (Maria). Berwick-Lowe’s Maria was a sheer joy as her vocals soared through the auditorium, complemented by Smith’s Tony, there was palpable onstage chemistry, with a powerfully touching performance of Tonight. A special mention also to the ensemble, as voices harmonised beautifully in the Tonight reprise.
Talking of harmonies, the female ensemble were a force to be reckoned with their feistily brilliant performance of America. Fleur Petford’s Anita was a Puerto Rican firecracker and by the second half I was anticipating her rendition of A Boy Like That and it did not disappoint. Another much-deserved mention is for the excellent Oliver Keeling as Action. He delivered an intense, yet comic performance and the audience lapped up Gee Officer Krupke, where he was supported well by the other Jets. Special mentions also to the two rival gang leaders Mitchell Bastable as Bernardo and Grant Chapman as Riff.
Creative directors, Rachel and Leon Davies, clearly make a great team and have created a show that The Tab must be so incredibly proud of. The hard-work and determination from the whole company on and off the stage absolute shone through in this performance and the audience loved it.
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