The 4 900 man hours it took to make the set certainly paid off, as through its ingenious simplicity it conveyed power and authenticity. It played with different depths, heights and lighting which gave a realistic feeling of the streets of the Upper West in the 1950s.

This musical is ultimately a tragedy, yet the vibrancy of the Puerto Rican culture gave the play a colourful and fun flair through means of costume and music. This element uplifted the otherwise serious themes of the play, such as racial segregation, violence and crime.

Although this is an American-based musical, director Matthew Wild wrote that the “violent subject matter seems unnervingly close to home”, which is one of the reasons why the audience can get so invested whilst watching the performance.

West Side Story is perfect for any music, drama, dance or art lover and will be showing from 24 January to 5 March at the Johannesburg Theatre.

 

4/5