Monday, 22 September 2014

West Side Story

Hello, I think its about time for a stagey blog post, I haven't done one for ages, and I really had quite the stagiest time.

The Workshop
My West Side Story tickets had been booked for months. Then just over a week before I was due to see it at the Theatre I saw a status on facebook saying 'Dancing Theatre People' with details of a dance workshop with members of the cast, I certainly was not going to say no. On Sunday 7th September I turned up at Limelight Studios Norwich, way too early and really excited. The cast members we had were Danielle Cato who was a Jet girl and Sergio Giacomelli who played Bernardo when I saw it.
Following a warm up we learnt the dance break from America, Jerome Robbins' original choreography. I think my favourite move was the backwards chicken, I called it that, you'll see what I mean if you watch it. 
After this the guys did a Q and A for us. One thing I found interesting was the process to get 'The Dance at the Gym' right. The dancers all had the choreography down, but the tension between the Jets and Sharks was lacking. In order to get this, both sides literally had to shout abuse at each other, which resulted in members of the cast crying. Following exercises like this the tension for the dance came across giving the feeling the director wanted.
For clips from the workshop, look on the Limelight Studios Facebook page

The Show

My Review
I went to see West Side Story on Friday 12th September, and its almost embarrassing how excited I was, but I will give you a hint... I was very excited. I had studied WSS in both Dance and Performance Studies, so I knew the ins and outs. West Side Story to me is timeless despite being over 50 years old, it doesn't feel like its off another time. Robbins' choreography has barely been touched minus a few higher legs and longer extensions.
One of my favourite things in the theatre is when, there is a highly tense moment and the audience is in stunned silence, and there is minimal movement on the stage. This happened *spoiler alert* just before Tony gets shot and it was only him and Maria on stage, afterwards the whole cast slowly appears on stage to see what had happened. Moments like that whether you are in the audience, or on stage are just simply magical. One of the many reasons  I love the theatre.
Highlights for me have to include the Quintet, all 5 parties are anticipating the Rumble, whether it was the orchestral score or the whole cast appearing at a variety of levels on the tenement buildings on the side of the stage, ugh just superb. America a feisty Latin style danced by the Puerto Rican girls, it was so exciting to see the piece of choreography I had previously learnt. I am going to limit myself to one more highlight... a quick mention for Katie Hall's voice who played Maria, it was beautiful. My final highlight is the Dream Ballet the dancers all in white were stunning, it was almost magical. Imagery wise it going to stick in my brain for a long while.
I would just like to add why was there not a standing ovation?! I really wanted to stand, Singin' in the Rain got one, and my opinion West Side Story was a far better piece of theatre.
Unfortunately Norwich was the last stop on the UK tour. If you can see West Side Story I insist that you do, its part of musical theatre history and was ground breaking at its conception.

Tess' Review
I really love West Side Story, it was my first time seeing the play. I'd seen the film a couple of times and listened to the soundtrack a lot. It was really exciting to see it. It was really fantastic, exciting, funny and very emotional.
Somewhere was particularly amazing, the Dream Ballet, really beautiful and moving. Especially when I remember it was written in 1957, I find it striking and unusual how brave it was.
I absolutely loved it, Maria's singing was really strong, really powerful, managing to capture the Spanish accent and emotion.
A fantastic night, the audience really loved it, the atmosphere was amazing 9/10

Thanks for popping by!

No comments:

Post a Comment