It's a story that we all know. And now it's on stage in Jo'burg at the Mandela Theatre.
The Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents & Stephen Sondheim theatrical masterpiece first premiered on Broadway in New York back in 1957. Bringing to the stage iconic songs: "Something's Coming", "Maria", "I Feel Pretty" & "Tonight" is a cast of 40 which is backed by a full Philharmonic Orchestra. Included in the cast are well known names such as Jonathan Roxmouth, Lynelle Kenned, Chris Jafta, Bianca le Grange & Craig Urbani.
So you know I'm not a theatre expert or the biggest critic. I just love watching a good show. But I know when something is good & when it's not. I'm not there to take the show apart piece by piece & analyse it, then give you feedback. I'm one to tell the average man on the street, or man in the theatre if they'd enjoy the show or not.
On that note. I really enjoyed watching #WestSideStorySA.
The stage! Lets start there. I must say, that is what really impressed me the most. Scene changes happened without a glitch & would change in the motion of the production, so before you knew it, the setting had already changed. The set is simple & takes you straight to the back alley's of the Upper West Side in New York where the Jets & The Sharks get up to a lot of mischief.
The musical score is and has always been one of the greatest. That has not changed & the suspense that builds up inside you as the music explores the rivalry between the 2 street gangs is intense. The music sure brings out emotions within you whilst watching. I know it sure did for me. Heart racing as the pace of the music picks up as the The Jets & The Sharks run away from the police.
Stellar performance from Jonathan Roxmouth & Lynelle Kenned in the lead roles of Tony & Maria. Like I always knew they could sing. But this was just on a whole new level. I really loved Bianca le Grange as Anita. I think she definitely gets that Puerto Rican accent done perfectly & I kept having a little giggle when she would speak. Oh, and for those of you, who didn't know Chris Jafta can act. And yes, he can act pretty well as Bernardo and he is not just a pretty face on Top Billing.
Okay, so end of story. I think it is a must see if you enjoy a good musical. Like it's not your normal happy go lucky kind of musical with a happy ending. But I love that fact. It tells a story of 2 lovers that are torn apart by racial & social entised conflict ending in death & tragedy. You should leave the theatre with a sombre, yet elated feeling.
West Side Story runs at Mandela Theatre until 5 March.
Get your tickets on Computicket now. (Preferably before they are sold out.)
#WestSideStorySA - look it up on social media & see what everyone else is talking about.