REVIEW: West Side Story

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Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story sees the street gangs of New York clash in this breathtaking musical. The classic music by Leonard Bernstein and wonderful lyrics by Stephen Sondheim have stood the test of time over the last 60 yrs.

What makes this production extra special is to coincide with the musicals 60th Anniversary, local talent age 16-28 are working along side a professional team on stage and  it is being directed by Buxton Opera House’s very own Executive Director, Paul Kerryson.

The first half was packed full of singing, dancing and gang fights. In the middle of all this were those tender moments shared between Maria (Alexandra Hazard) & Tony (Jak Skelly) – desperate for acceptance from each side. The whole first half lead up to the rumble between the gangs and the curtain fell as the leader from each side was killed.

The second half was just as entertaining as the first, with the aftermath of the rumble played out with interpretive dance, and more classic songs including I Feel Pretty. Although the second half was more sombre than the first the energy levels stayed high.

As it finished with Maria walking off behind her slain lover there was a well deserved standing ovation for the cast.

Overall for me Anita (Natalie Coverly), Rosalia (Maria Dunford) and the Sharks ladies stole the show with their rendition of America, full of life and exceptional choreography it was a real highlight.

The stage setting was great with two levels of scaffolding which gave it a very industrial feel, along with the lighting it was very effective.

All in all this was an excellent performance and the local actors should be very proud. I see very bright futures for them all.

If you want to see  the amazing talent Buxton & surrounding area has to offer then get yourself down to the Opera House.

West Side Story runs from 21-25 Feb, get tickets from the Box office or visit

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