Friday, 29 November 2019

Stage Review - WEST SIDE STORY at Curve Theatre, Leicester

West Side Story at Leicester Curve Theatre Christmas 2019 


One of two Christmas shows made by Curve Theatre this year. West Side Story is another fine and fancy musical production directed by Nikolai Foster. Have you seen the TV advertisment?

It has to be said that the commitment is total in regard to the creative and technical input attached to bringing this story of conflict, one between two street fighting gangs, to stage.

Adriana Ivelisse (Maria) and Jamie Muscato (Tony)

Additionally, the sub-plot, (in regard to the star-crossed lovers), means scenes contain dramatic undertones. The couple's talk may be romantic and wishful at times, but the atmosphere remains emotionally charged and that is the key to telling West Side Story authentically.

Yet it is the musical score itself, which really provides that certain feel. The accidentals utilise the reed instruments particularly, meaning the many sharps and flats work so 
intrinsically well to build tension. The brass and percussion unleash at times to deliver those expressive Latin numbers. Therefore, George Dyer and musicians, take a low bow from the top floor! 

The dance numbers, from the mighty song list, are interpreted well - both rhythmically and feistily. All movement is energetic and dynamic in many ways; 
lots of running to... and lots of scampering away. 

The fight scenes; a dramatic essential. 

Gang members fighting - West Side Story - The Curve Theatre Leicester

The set includes some moveable staging; a metal compound, a scrap metal tip and series of rooms over a bar that Michael Taylor and set builders have created so impressively. The all-white clothing strung on washing lines are props that subtly brightens the surroundings in the stagelight; and the bridal dresses provide an ethereal feeling hanging down from above, this contrasts nicely against the dark and dreary backdrop of the run-down neighbourhood of Upper West Side. 

The cast are supported by members of the Curve's Young Company. However, all main players contribute equally in their vocal and dance related performances. All are very accomplished. 
There are no particular central performance(s), as there are in some shows, that overrides anothers - which is refreshing.

Out of all the light and shade it all, is a comic number called "Gee, Officer Krupke" , which takes place in front of the down curtain while changes were being made behind it. This one scene received the longest spontaneous applause at its end. Well done you guys!

Reviewer missed opening scenes, nonetheless saw enough on press night to gauge the show's wonderful merits and to confirm that
 this is complete in achieving audience satisfaction - one hundred per cent.

Note: running alongside West Side Story at the Curve is their production of Giraffes Can’t Dance for the young and young at heart. 



Theatre critic, Debra Hall attended the Press Night performance of West Side Story at The Curve Theatre, Leicester on 28 November 2019 

Photography by Ellie Kurttz

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