West Side Story at Buxton Opera House Review

21-25 February 2018

Reviewed by Tammy and Anthony Wildblood

We were asked to review ‘West Side Story’ at Buxton Opera House which we gladly accepted as Buxton theatre is a favourite theatre of ours. The journey for us is stunning as it is in the Peak District so you are already feeling relaxed ready for the night ahead.

Parking for the theatre is brilliant as after 6pm in the Pavilion Gardens, it is free to park and it’s only a couple of minutes walk away. We always like to get here early as we like to relax in ‘The Olde Clubhouse, a lovely pub just opposite the theatre.  his pub can get quite busy on theatre nights so we would recommend getting there a bit earlier especially if you would like to eat. They have some great deals on the food from what we saw but cannot comment on how nice it is as we’ve never actually eaten there. There are always plenty of meals being ordered and from what we saw, the food did look great and lots of it too.

We entered the theatre and as per usual, we were met by the happy, friendly staff. This is a standard welcome at Buxton Opera House and a reason we keep coming back. We sat in the bar which serves hot drinks and a selection of beers for a reasonable price. The only thing we would say about the bar is that they need more tables as there is nowhere apart from the bar and two very small tables to put your drinks.

We arrived at our seats and still, no matter how many times we visit this theatre, we still get the WOW factor. The stage was set with scaffolding and meshed gating to represent a back alley and did look really good because if we are being honest, we read that this was an amateur performance so we weren’t expecting a top show. Well… how wrong were we!

Jets Leader – Riff – For the first 5 minutes, we had our doubts about Lucas Bailey’s performance, but he then really shone, and he turned out to be amazing. After what seemed a nervous start, he surely did rise to the occasion with his singing, dancing and acting.  Lucas enjoyed himself and so did we watching him.  Well done! 4/5 due to the shaky start.

Sharks Leader – Bernardo – We couldn’t quite warm to Luke Clayton as it was difficult to understand what he was saying, maybe this was due to Luke having to do the Puerto Rican accent and dialect. Luke did use the stage well and his fighting scenes were brilliant, and we asked ourselves at times if he had really been hit as he did make it seem real. 3/5 due to the rocky accent.

Maria – WOW what a star Alexandra Hazard is! This lady is by far no amateur. Alexandra’s singing, expressions and acting were A* and she had the voice of an angel. She is definitely deserving of a standing ovation. We would certainly say that Alexandra Hazard is destined for big things in the theatre world. 5/5 Top A* performer.

Tony – Again… Jak Skelly is no amateur! His stage presence was amazing, along with his confidence in his acting and what a great singer. Jak’s confidence shone in his singing and you could see he loved performing his solos. 5/5 Top Performer.

Anita – Absolutely loved Natalie Coverley’s accent and comical parts. Her facial expressions when she was singing and acting made her a star. You could see that Natalie thoroughly enjoyed her part as Anita and being in the theatre world.

The whole show was filled with singing and dancing galore. Each scene changes were executed really well and the scene settings were well thought out. One negative for us was the music in the fight scenes as this just didn’t seem aggressive enough and we felt it was more music for ballet rather than action.

The full cast had so much energy and all styles of dancing were involved in the performance which showed amazing talent throughout. Every member of the cast; sang, danced and acted very well. The only way you could see this as being an amateur performance was we noticed that some of the dancers were conscious of their positioning so were looking at the floor to check but for us… this didn’t seem like an amateur performance and it is well worth the money.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from £18 to £22 (booking fees may apply).

West Side Story is at the Buxton Opera House from 21-25 February 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit buxtonoperahouse.org.uk or call the box office on 01298 72190.

Buxton Opera House, Water Street, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6XN | 01298 72190

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