Janie Phillips finds West Side Story in rude health in this "visually arresting" touring production at the Liverpool Empire.
26 Sep 2013
Based on the oldest love story going, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story remains timeless. For a show that is over 50 years old, this production is up with the very best of musical theatre, with fantastic costumes, lighting, music and incredible dance routines, not to mention the amazing vocals.
Due to the indisposition of Louis Maskell who was billed to play Tony, Dom Hodson did a fine job in taking on the role.
Alongside Katie Hall, who plays Maria, these two had some of the most memorable songs, including "One Hand, One Heart" and the iconic "Maria." Hall's vocals alone are stupendous and she manages perfectly with the Spanish accent.
Good too are the ensemble cast, who make up the two rival gangs: the Sharks and Jets. Not only are these guys good on vocals, but they keep up the energy with some remarkably long and detailed dance routines.
The pace moves quick as the story unfolds, chasing from one scene to the next. It builds up to some spectacular moments that are explosive in colour and sound.
Clever use of lighting, stupendous set design by Peter Halbsgut and choreographer/director Joey McKneely's dynamic touches make for a show that is simply astounding and visually arresting.