Thursday, July 16, 2009

I first saw West Side Story in the original London production with George Chakiris in 1958 - I'd like to say I was wheeled in as a prem. baby but you wouldn't believe me - which is perhaps why it's always been my favourite musical. The community college production at Frome's Merlin Theatre was a wonderful way to revisit and rediscover the energy and passion as well as the songs of this classic Romeo & Juliet re-enaction.
Claudia Pepler-Berry's production rightly, and creatively, emphasises the youthfulness of these protagonists – the first rumble is like a playground scrap, and When you’re a Jet not so much macho aggression as a chant for a tribe of Lost Boys: “Without a gang you’re an orphan" says Riff, their charismatic leader.
The two key ensemble pieces were simply brilliant, the girls bringing the feisty exuberance of a hen-night romp to I like to be in America, and an inventive wittiness as well as high energy in the boys’ show-piece Officer Krupke.
And then there's the young lovers, whose duets created such a sense of quintessential romance I could hear sobs all around me: Ben Macfadyen as Tony looking like a young James Dean and singing with charm and confidence. Kara Horler as Anita was outstanding too, and I loved the cameo role of Howard Vause the cowardly lion, now in glasses & tanktop working as a youth club leader in downtown Manhattan.
(Thanks Mike for the images)

And here's that ONE AND OTHER link for Saturday 4-5, to see whether I need my brolly and bin-bags for my Trafalgar Square plinthathon: all about words, mine and maybe yours...


Bob said...

Fromesbury Group Poet (It's A Single Poet Thing)

Giving workshops
From plinth tops
Near Red London Bus stops
Only pausing for must stops
Of water and chanters
For waving and snapshots
Of supporters and passers
Blowing kisses not trumpets

(.....Though no-one else will
Perhaps megaphone diplomacy
Would have been better still)...

Living on edges
Speaking from ledges
Playing with words
In columns and squares
Grounded in ink
Or free on the air
Moving minds changing choices
Expressing others' voices
Not just pulling heart strings
But single poet things

With frock amp and headdress
And style and grace too
A female declaimer from
Frome with a view

Bob Whitley

Crysse said...

Thanks, Bob! Especially good to get the thumbs up from a lyricist, much appreciated.