THEATRE REVIEW: An energetic and vibrant West Side Story shows no sign of ageing

West Side Story at Theatre Royal Nottingham.

West Side Story at Theatre Royal Nottingham.

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BACK in town, and showing no signs of ageing, is ‘West Side Story’ which is on at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until this Saturday, (17th).

Approaching the time when it might qualify for a bus pass, this is still a young, vibrant musical, packed with memorable songs, romance, drama and dance action, that can be enjoyed by all ages, whether at home or abroad.

For this current re-staging of the 1957 original -- set in New York’s Upper West Side against the backdrop of street gang rivalry between the local Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks -- has already stopped off in Japan, Australia and Germany ahead of an extensive UK tour, which started last September.

And the 30-plus cast show that they are top of their game with an energetic and enthusiastic production that is playing to capacity audiences at the Theatre Royal.

Taking the lead as the tragic lovers, in this modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ are Jets gang member Tony (Louis Maskell who was last in the region co-starring with Dominic West in ‘My Fair Lady’ at Sheffield’s Crucible) and Maria (Katie Hall), sister of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo (Javier Cid).

Tony and Maria’s short-lived romance is played out against the rising tensions between the two groups as they plan their street rumble, a confrontation which leads to murder and further tragedy with Tony’s death providing the impetus for the gangs to stop their feuding.

The music of Leonard Bernstein married to the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim delight and dazzle just as much as they must have done when the curtain went up on the premiere on Broadway nearly 60 years ago, and that’s no wonder with such show-stoppers as ‘When You’re a Jet’, Tony’s optimistic ‘Something’s Coming’, ‘America’ sung by Maria’s friend, Anita (Djalenga Scott), Rosalia and the Shark girls, ‘Tonight’ and ‘I Feel Pretty.’

The production runs until this Saturday, 17th, and for further details of show times and tickets, £17.50 to £45, please contact the Theatre Royal box office on 0115-989-5555, or check the website at www.trch.co.uk