11-15 February 2014
Reviewed by Becky Speller
After going to see the Sleeping Beauty Pantomime at Waterside Theatre, and having a fantastic night I was so excited to be picked to review West Side Story.
I have not seen this musical before but love the music from it, however my Dad who came with me has seen the West End show many times and also the film, and this is one of his favourite musicals.
The venue itself is amazing, as you approach the theatre it is all lit up and looks fantastic. The staff are well turned out and very friendly. We got there a little early so enjoyed a drink and some cake in the cafe which was reasonably priced and delicious. The toilets were spotless as is everything at the theatre.
The press desk opened just before 7 and we collected our tickets. We were given a programme, and told to meet back at the desk in the interval for drinks. Our seats were brilliant in the stalls about 10 rows back from the stage and we could see everything.
The story is set in a West Side neighbourhood in New York in the mid 1950’s, and tells the story of two rival gangs the Jets (Americans) and the Sharks (Puerto Ricans). The main characters are Maria and Tony, Maria is the sister of the Sharks leader, and Tony was previously the leader of the Jets. Life becomes very complicated when Tony falls in love with Maria’s.
Maria, played by Katie Hall (previously played Christine in Phantom), had an outstanding voice and played her part brilliantly. The other actress who stood out for me was Anita (played by the Djalenga Scott) who also had a fantastic voice and acted superbly. Unfortunately they did overshadow Tony somewhat (played by Louis Maskell), who lacked the charisma needed to play the part of Tony.
The downside for me was the sound quality of the show. The dialogue was muffled and hard to hear and understand. I struggled to keep up with the storyline because of this, and my Dad had to fill me in on what was happening. Apart from Maria and Anita the singing was also not as powerful as I expected and lacked depth. The ladies sitting next to us agreed, and I also heard other members of the audience commenting on the sound.
At the interval we were offered complimentary drinks, which was lovely and the show started promptly again after 15 minutes.
Unfortunately the second act was the same in respect of sound quality and I found this quite disappointing. Overall I did enjoy the show however the sound did ruin it for me. It would have been fantastic if this could have been sorted out.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £53.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here.