Review - West Wide Story at Milton Keynes Theatre

West Side Story
West Side Story
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This legendary Leonard Bernstein musical needs little introduction.

And Joey McKneely and his creative team honour its iconic status in musical theatre with this latest adaption.

For those - sadly - unitiated with the show, West Side Story follows the narrative of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But this story is set against a background of poverty, racial prejudice and juvenile delinquency and, although boy meets girl, the lovers are denied their happy ending.

The show eschews the feelgood conventions of other musicals in favour of a more gritty tale and, through its complex, varied score and street-tough choreography, takes its audiences on a truly exhilerating emotional journey.

Songs such as Maria, I Feel Pretty, Tonight and the haunting Somewhere beautifully encapsulate the mood of the piece. But it’s not without its lighter moments either - and the Jets’ Gee Officer Krupke routine is a personal highlight.

Special credit though to the two leading lights Louis Maskell and Katie Hall who play Tony and Maria.

If you only treat yourself to one theatre visit this year - for goodness sake make it this one. A sheer joy to behold.

By Amanda Chalmers.