Champion Review: West Side Story

SONG presented West Side Story at The Atkinson as their 40th Anniversary Show.

The musical, which is inspired by Romeo and Juliet, was first staged on Broadway in 1957, and is as relevant today with the many issues highlighted in it, such as knife crime and gang culture, still topical.

This was an ambitious production to bring to the stage with its complex score and challenging choreography, but the youngsters from SONG were up to the task and their performances really delivered.

Of particular note was Louis Millington as Maria who has a terrific singing voice. Ryan Harrison was assured as Tony. Anita (Charlie Jasmine Edge) stood out as well and had a big part to play in the second half. She has to sing the famous song Somewhere.

The leaders of the two gangs, The Jets and The Sharks, brought the right amount of swagger to the roles. Riff was played by Ryan Gallagher and Bernardo by Gabe Cardeita.

The company, who were obviously enjoying being in the show, came together well too under the direction of Karen Edge in their scenes, including Dance At The Gym, and The Rumble.

Karen, who is an ex-member of SONG, was also in the creative team for the company’s successful 2017 production The Addams Family.

She was joined by Victoria Harrocks as the choreographer. Jerome Robbins original choreography is a key element of the show and SONG’s presentation did it justice.

West Side Story is a terrific score and in it are the famous songs America, Tonight and Somewhere. The orchestra, under the supervision of Charles Moss, provided a perfect accompaniment to the action.

This was a moving interpretation of a classic musical. 9/10

Henry James

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