A big thank you to all who were involved in this amazing production - cast, production team, committee, backstage team, orchestra - everyone that helped to make St. Augustine's MTC an award winning company once again!
The audiences loved the show - "A fantastic opening night to West Side Story...." "It was brilliant...." "....great show...." "Well done to the cast of West Side Story for an amazing opening night..." "...saw a stunning West Side Story last night...."
This blockbuster of a show, based on the story of Romeo and Juliet and set in New York City in the mid 1950s, is packed full of action, love, heartbreak, drama and wonderful music. Lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim and Music by Leonard Bernstein - a whole host of well-known and much-loved songs such as 'Tonight', 'America', 'One Hand One Heart', 'Cool', 'Maria', 'I Feel Pretty' and many more.
CASTING DETAILS: Following our audition sessions in February, the roles cast were:
Chloe Rawson played Maria and Ben Field played Tony. Riff was played by Gavin Whichello, Anita by Gemma Smyth and Bernardo by Kerem Özbaş. Ben and Kerem were new to the company for this production, Chloe appeared as a young performer in our 2008 production of The Wizard of Oz, whilst Gavin and Gemma have also previously performed in principal roles with us, most recently in Robin, Prince of Sherwood.
Further casting can be seen on the right hand side of this page.
Sondheim's West Side Story has long been one of my favourite productions, suffice to say this talented cast did not disappoint on this occasion.
The balance within the musical numbers should be noted within the two rival gangs, the Jets led by Riff (Gavin Whichello) and the Sharks led by Bernardo (Kerem Ozbas) as there was just the right amount of intensity, strength and anger when needed to contrast with the more emotional and poignant elements of the production.
There were many high standard solo performances and duets from Tony (Ben Field) Maria (Chloe Rawson) and Anita (Gemma Smyth) all of whom should be pleased with their accents that did not falter throughout, great casting as the pairings were totally believable. I must also mention Mark Hughes (Gladhand) who delivered an excellent cameo.
Also playing to their strengths were the Sharks and Jets girls and boys, too numerous to mention them all by name. The fight scenes were really well executed.
Highlights of the night for me "Maria ", " Tonight", " I feel Pretty ", " Officer Krupke "
Overall the production team Veronica, Stephen and Liane should get full marks in my book for the effective use of simple clever scenery, using a few different production touches and eye-catching costumes in this well cast, fast moving performance. The audiences were most definitely entertained.
And finally (saved the best until last) Liane Hughes should be congratulated on the choreography, in my humble opinion .... It was brilliant in every way. With elements and inspiration from the film and professional stage version it gave the non-dancers chance to shine and highlighted the abilities of the more capable, giving this "West Side" a really fresh feel, truly Outstanding.
Many thank to STAGS for the invitation and your hospitality, Joyce.
Written by Joyce Eyre, NODA Regional Representative