[3_stars]

West Side StoryThis much loved, musical theatre classic opened last night for a five-night run at the Liverpool Empire theatre.

Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story captures the tragic love story between ill-fated lovers Tony and Maria who become caught up in the gang warfare and racial tension of their New York neighbourhood. With famous musical numbers such as ‘Somewhere’ and ‘America’, West Side Story is a timeless piece of theatrical genius.

There were many stand-out moments in this production of West Side Story. The use of set and lighting were fantastic as the plain background worked with spotlights to highlight the dancers’ bodies and movements.

The energy of the cast shone through during the ‘Dance at the Gym’ with the choreography being immaculately executed.

Tony, played by Dom Hodson, was a little weak vocally however his charm and warmth in portraying Tony made up for this. Acclaimed West End star Katie Hall sang effortlessly as Maria and her passion during the emotional ending had the audience hanging on her every word. Although The Jets’ showed unity during dances, their relationship as a gang didn’t really come across which made ‘Officer Krupke’ lack some comedic value.

Djalenga Scott as Anita was  every little bit the star showing her excellent comic timing in ‘America’ yet her strong passion and fire in ‘A Boy Like That’. Credit must also go to Jack Wilcox, playing Riff, as he carried on regardless of tech issues in ‘Jet Song’.

Despite the slight tech issues and vocal weaknesses, West Side Story delivered incredible dance sequences, touching scenes and is well worth a trip down to the Empire!

Tickets are still available until Saturday 28th September, starting from £10. See the Liverpool Empire website for more details.