West Side Story


Rotherham Civic Theatre / 18 - 22 November 2014 /
Photographs Courtesy of Alan Thompson

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The Show!

WSS poster

West Side Story transposes Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the gang-ridden streets of Manhattan in the 1950s. Instead of the Capulets and Montagues, we have the Puerto Rican Sharks versus the Anglo Jets.

In place of Romeo and Juliet are Tony and Maria, two teens torn between ethnic loyalty and their intense, abrupt love for one another. The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score includes "Tonight," "Somewhere," "Maria," "I Have a Love" and "Something's Coming."

The Cast!

MAIN CHARACTERS

TONY - Brad Swinburn/ MARIA - Aimee Good/ RIFF - Rob Bennie/ ANITA - Kirsty Bennie/ BERNARDO - Ashley Booker/ ACTION - Ben Green/ BABY JOHN - Matt Ellis/ A-RAB - Josh Roberts/ ANYBODYS - Chloe Jackson/ ROSALIA - Kirsty Taylor/ CONSUELO - Isabella Eagle/ FRANCICIA - Rachel Ward/ TERESITA - Jasmine Richards/ SOLO SINGER - Geoff Genwick & Rebecca Critchley/ CHINO - Charley Luckett/ BIG DEAL - Mauric Widdop/ DIESEL - Matt Roberts/ SNOWBOY - Elliot Lee/ GEE-TAR - Will Glasby/ PEPE - Scott Walker/ INDIO - Nathan Walker/ GRAZIELLA - Charlotte Berry/ VELMA - Jemma Booker/ SHRANK - Richard Wilshaw/ DOC - Michael Cahill/ OFFICER KRUPKE - Geoff Fenwick/ GLADHAND - Geoff Fenwick.

JETS

Dan Fenwick / Scott Hall / Katy Johnson / Eleanor Thomas / Mandy Ward / Georgia Eagle.

SHARKS

Jason Haynes / Thomas Minshaw / Alice Renshaw / Ray Roberts / Heather Slack / Courtney Sutton / Charlotte Wall / Jonny White / Jade Ellis.

The Production Team


Director / Choreographer : Dee Bennie-Marshall

Musical Director : Heather Jackson

Stage Manager : Richard Badger

Production Assistant : Matt Roberts

Costume Manager : Hillary Pratt

Director's Cut

Director - Dee Bennie-Marshall
Once again these performers have had to push their acting skills to the limit. Whilst the singing has been on a par with the calibre of last year’s very successful ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, we've had the added pressure of creating the massive dance scenes. Here I feel very lucky to have so many good-looking boys, who having never had dance lessons, threw themselves into any task I gave them and made the energetic, athletic dancing look effortless.

The Reviews!

Click the review below to read the write up!

NODA - Les Smith

FANTASTIC!

They are called Rotherham Teachers Operatic Society and I am pleased they have not put the word “AMATEUR” in the title as tonight’s was far from AMATEUR, in fact it was more professional than many so called professional shows.

From the second the orchestra struck up you knew this was going to be a night to remember and It certainly was, it was electric from start to finish. There was not any weak link in the whole show and everyone pulled all the stops out to make it not just a great show but a fantastic show.

All the principal characters should be very proud of themselves whether they had one line or many lines they worked as a team to make this show work. This of course is a modern day take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and for this to work you have to have two very good leading characters. Well in this production they had in the guise of Brad Swinburn as Tony and Aimee Good as Maria, they both looked the part and acted and sang their socks off to bring both parts to life. I especially liked their “Tonight”, it was breathtaking and I would think everyone in the audience lived every breath they took and every note they sang.

Of course they are rival gangs in this as there was in the original story and both gangs had a leader, casting the parts of Riff and Bernardo was, I would think, a very easy task to do as Rob Bennie as Riff and Ashley Booker as Bernardo were perfect, they sang, danced and yes fought their way through this show with a brilliance that would not look out of place on any West End stage.

Bernardo has a girl Anita, who realises that her friend, and Bernardo’s sister has become very friendly with Tony, this part was in the very capable hands of Kirsty Bennie who was able to dance and sing her heart out, she really shone in the ballet when she started the dance with Riff, this was magical and brought a fantasy to the whole proceedings which the audience loved and quite rightly too.

There are far too many parts in this piece to mention them all but mention must be made of Ben Green as Action. Ben was able to get every bit of emotion from this part whether it be comedy, tragedy or anything in between, he really pull out all the stops, which is typical of this young actor.

I also enjoyed Michael Cahill as Doc, this may only be a relatively small part but it does call for some real acting especially in one of the last scenes with the Jets and Tony, brilliant. Mention must also be made of Richard Wishaw as Shrank, again not a very big part but one which is very important to the plot and requires a good actor, Richard made this part his own and delivered the lines to the full.

One of my favourite numbers in this show is the Tonight Quintet which calls for 5 soloists, groups and duets to sing against each other, not an easy task but one which did work here, not a single note or word was lost.

I could go on and on about this show but space limits all my comments, needless to say this one fantastic show, my praise goes out to everyone involved.

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