West Side Story with music by Bernstein was first performed in 1957 and saw the Broadway debut of lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
Based on Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare; the star crossed lovers are torn apart by gangs and race wars with tragic results.
It was one of the first musicals to immerse dance in its narrative and the extended “ballet” sequences were trail blazing for this genre.
Zenith are not a company to steer away from a challenge and here the young, vibrant cast sing and dance their way through the piece with great commitment, focus and drive.
The gang members, both male and female, are well defined and their rapport is excellent throughout the big numbers.
Emily Holland creates a fine central performance with superb vocals as Maria. Her innocence is well nuanced and provides a great contrast for Beth Hunger as the excellent Anita. Their combined power and performances are central to the power of this production.
The Jets and the Sharks have great opportunity to fight, chase and dance all with impressive results.
Marcus May as Riff and Sam Feierabend as Bernado are strong leaders; whilst Hayden Betts, as Tony, tries in vain to control the warring parties.
“America,” “I feel Pretty” and “Officer Krupke” are all strong familiar pieces and deservedly well received whilst the vocals for “Somewhere” by Maisie Humphries are haunting and beautiful.
The large orchestra under the watchful control of Roy Page is in fine form and once again this young company reflect s the passion for musical theatre in the city.
The large cast are an inspiring sight when onstage together and no doubt the rest of the week will continue to impress the large audiences.
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Reviewer: Petra Schofield
West Side Story is a Zenith Youth Theatre production, showing at the Kingswood Theatre in Bath until Saturday 23rd February 2019.
For more information, and tickets, visit the Zenith Youth Theatre website.