The People's Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Nice Swan Theatre Company presents West Side Story - the tragic love story of star crossed lovers. First nights are nerve wracking, and nerves seemed to take the cast by storm at tonight’s performance. However, after a show stopping rendition of America, led by Jessica Brady as Anita, did the show start proper. The cast found their feet and a certain confidence took hold of the cast.

The said cast are all youthful and energetic, although, the energy seems at times erratic and unfocused, lots of shuffling of feet and checking each other for the next move, heads constantly down and staring at the stage. As the run progresses, confidence in the material and each other increases, so I trust will the performances, of which there are many.

Tony, Sean Grey and Maria, Carly Burns play their respective roles with passion and tenderness, vocally strong they have potential to embrace the roles and stretch themselves to greater heights, again a case of first night nerves when sound problems seemed to mar some of the more poignant and dramatic moments.

The music in my opinion was over amplified, and a tad quick at times, One Hand, One Heart, Maria and Tonight seemed to be rushed. I hope this was enthusiasm for the opening night, and the pace of the show will find a gentler rhythm during the rest of the run.

There is a lot to enjoy in this show, but there are a number of key area’s to be addressed, I am sure they will rise to the occasion. Congratulations to a hard working group of talented individuals.