2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein and the Belfast Music and Drama Society is celebrating by bringing his beloved West Side Story to the Grand Opera House stage.
The timeless tale of forbidden love and rival gangs is brought to life by an enthusiastic and talented cast. Boyd Rodgers is effortless as leading man Tony, with a voice that drew well-deserved applause from the audience each time he sang. Amber Dixon’s Maria is pretty, and witty, and bright, and charming, and oh so talented. It’s hard to believe she is only 16.
The Jets’ cylinders were definitely clickin’, led by the captivating Sean O’Neill in the role of Riff. He commands the stage in every scene and is surrounded by a supportive band of brothers. The rivalry with the Sharks unfolds in an impressive array of dance and fight sequences. The choreography is fun to watch and the costumes are bright and eye catching.
There were a few stumbles in the dance numbers and some less than smooth scene transitions, and the fog machine was overused a touch. However these minor issues pale in comparison to the amount of dedication and hard work that is showcased on stage.
BMDS’ West Side Story is entertaining, fun, and tragic. And certainly worth checking out. It runs at the Grand Opera House until Saturday 10 February.
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Author: Leanne Murray