West Side Story, fresh from a hugely successful run in London’s West End is currently showing at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre as part of a nationwide tour.
It’s clear that the musical is as popular as ever; on the first night the auditorium was packed. The show bursts into action with an energetic and innovative dance routine from the New York gang the Jets, appropriately attired in 50s style faded denim and plimsolls. The tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet is transported to 1950s New York and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks is as fierce as the original dispute between the Montagues and the Capulets. To add to the authenticity, the actors spoke in ‘New York’ style accents however this sometimes obscured the clarity of the dialogue.
Tony and Maria are the star crossed lovers, who forsake their allegiances to the Jets and the Sharks respectively, to be with one another after falling in love at first sight. Dom Hodson, who played Tony, was particularly impressive, delivering consistently strong and emotive vocal performances of some of musical theatre’s most popular songs including ‘Somewhere’ and ‘Maria.’
The cast members were incredibly talented and each dance move was perfectly in sync. The costumes of the performers were particularly effective; the Sharks’ brightly coloured suits contrasted with the faded denim of the Jets. In the midst of all the tension, Tony and Maria often wore white to show that they were separate from the gang rivalry.
Overall, this production is a triumph! With exciting, innovative choreography and songs that will stay with you long after the show has ended, it’s definitely one to watch!
Don’t miss your chance to see this production while it’s in Southampton. Visit the Mayflower theatre website for details and to purchase tickets.
8/10 – Vibrant, energetic and engaging, this production is a must see!