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Theatre Review: West Side Story

31 May 17 words: Victoria Villasenor

Carlton Operatic Society get down on the West Side

West Side Story

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, I wonder if he knew he was tapping into a love story that would be retold through the ages?

Carlton Operatic Society are performing West Side Story at the Theatre Royal, a relatively modern take (originally written in 1957) on Shakespeare’s forbidden love. It’s an energetic story full of passion and hope, with a fair share of Shakespearean tragedy woven in.

The amateur group put on a fun show. Riff, played by Patrick McChrystal, had a strong, clear voice that carried well. His fellow Jets backed him up well. Bernardo, played by Paice Lees, wasn’t on stage a lot, but he had a solid, powerful presence. The audience felt the loss when the two characters died during the rumble.

Obviously the focus was on the lead actors, Matt Wesson, playing Tony, and Ella Greenwood, playing Maria. They both had clear, beautiful voices that carried the show. Their romance was sweet and Greenwood plays a believably innocent young immigrant. One of the standout members of the cast was Judie Matthews, playing Anita. She was probably the most powerful actor on stage, with a strong voice, passionate tone, and precise dance moves.

Mike Newbold, playing officer Krupke, and Graham Ward, playing Lieutenant Shrank, both did an admirable job of portraying the attitudes of the time.

While the choreography wasn’t terribly tight, it was a sweet show with plenty of energy.

West Side Story is playing at the Theatre Royal until the 3rd of June.

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