West Side Story
August 20, 2019
There are few dance musicals that are as internationally known as the result of the joint effort between the quartet of what has become well established as luminaries in the world of musical, i.e. of Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins and Stephen Sondheim.
If you think you are unfamiliar, think again – some of the songs of the score are inextricably linked to the pop cultural fabric of the 20th century.
Based on the classic Romeo and Juliet dynamic, the classic love story is transported into the concrete jungle of NYC where the Montagues and Capulets are replaced by the Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks, rival gangs fighting over local turf.
True to its original choreography, the Australian incarnation under the directorial guidance of Joey McKneely epitomises the essence of what the nostalgic, energising melange of theatrical, dance and immensely enjoyable score set out to be.
The committed triple threat ensemble delivered on all fronts – spectacularly realised dancing incorporating jazz, Latin and ballet style elements nuanced with near pitch perfect vocal feats reminiscent of both opera and traditional styles that set the narrative elements in scene, nuanced by the emissions and ardent score of a wonderful orchestra that only enhanced the emotional pull the captivating traditional tale enacts.
A stripped back yet atmospheric set design focussing on the balconies of New York’s 1950 underclass quarters with large scenic elements moving seamlessly into place as required, put the spotlight solely on the highly energetic performances, enduring melodies and choreography.
I have seen Westside Story in NYC where it originally emerged as well as in Europe and the Australian production is in no way less dramatic, entertaining without embellishing it – au contraire the set design and unique ambience of the Sydney Opera House gives it an x-factor that adds intimacy to a finger snapping, high-kicking irresistible evening that celebrates diversity with its vivid characters and carries a simple yet powerful and universal message.
Photo courtesy of Prudence Upton
CaI-Guo Qiang: The Transient Landscape National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria is yet to disappoint when it comes to expertly curated exhibitions, some of which present ... read more
Sydney Contemporary 2019 Carriageworks Sydney, Australia September 12-15, 2019 For the uninitiated: Sydney Contemporary has established itself firmly on the firmament of intercontinental art fairs as the pre-eminent Australasian ones, ... read more
Thus Let Us Drink Beer - Dainton Brewing If you have followed this series it should not come as a surprise that terra australis has a myriad of crafty and ... read more
Architecture and Action Cambridge Is the way buildings are designed significant? Does it affect you, your well-being and the world at large? Some say that if a building becomes ... read more
Water of Life – Bakery Hill Now, this instalment of our series is a special one – special because Bakery Hill is the one distillery that almost got away. I ... read more
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.