West Side Story – Curve review

West Side Story, a modern musical set in New York is based around the classic tale Romeo and Juliet like – love and rival gangs, Sharks and Jets. Paul Kerryson has a fine reputation for telling stories with attention to detail in a totally engaging manner. Promoted as a community production you might expect a mediocre performance. Wrong!

 This latest production is fantastic achievement, edgy, provocative and engaging. It is hard to believe that some of the cast had little acting experience. Kerryson has managed to galvanise a large disparate cast into a powerful source of energy and emotion that taps into the rawness of the cast to bring depth of commitment and attitude to the story.

The audience is invited to experience the set prior to taking their seats. The walk through the darkened ganglands of New York with the city sounds is a nice touch at reaching out to the audience. The only item missing from the soundscape is the sound of sirens wailing as any New Yorker will testify.

West Side Story

 There are several outstanding performances in the show. “America” sung by the girls is full of energy, colour with good vocals and super choreography making it a highlight that will make you want to join in. Anita played by Gemma Kotak is totally captivating. The boys are full of surprises, not least because the vocal performances are matched with some impressive gymnastics. Action played by Gregory Knight is outstanding, confident and convincing delivery with some very cool moves.

Transitions between scenes are smooth and well conceived. No musical would be complete without a great orchestra and this is no exception thanks to the direction from Chad Kelly. I like the placement of the orchestra at the back of the stage where at appropriate times they became an integral part of the visual performance.

Overall this is a tremendous showcase for all that is great about Curve and its commitment to be an open theatre and an integral part of the community. West Side Story is superb foot tapping entertainment transporting you straight to Manhattan. Fabulous.

Martin Westall


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