Tag Archives: West Side Story

West Side Story, Bord Gais Theatre Dublin, 8/11/13




Before I begin it’s come to my attention that  a number of people have not realised that the words in RED are click-able and send you to a link on Youtube or Wikipedia. This might happen a lot on my blog posts so note that for again. It my help explain some musical terminology or the music that I am writing about. So here’s the post:

Friday of last week, I travelled to Dublin yet again for another musical night out in the city this time going to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. It was my first time there and as you can probably guess I saw a production of Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story‘.  Coincidentally this is the second time I’ve heard this music recently, but this time with the dancing and the singing. This  UK touring  company which have been touring around the world for 10 years or more.

I had seen this musical before over 10 years ago in London, so I always wanted to see it again so this time I brought my folks along with me. The Bernstein and Robbins estates are very strict on every production of the musical around the world so, every production is virtually exactly the same everywhere..

Inside the theatre itself it’s all very red and cosy, we were up in the balcony with a great view but alas I forgot to take a photo while there.   :-?

It all started with wonderful irish timing at 7:45 rather then 7:30 with the late comers. My main worry was that there wouldn’t be an orchestra and it would be piped music with live singing. But to my pleasant surprise there was an 18 piece band. I don’t know much about choreography or staging or lighting so I’m going to concentrate on the music. Firstly it seemed to me that everything was miked for the musicians to the singers which was okay for the singers, but for the musicians everything seemed very loud. Granted the acoustics in the theatre might have been superb and the players might have been playing naturally but to my ears it sounded amplified.

A list of the characters and how they’re related to each other is here

For anyone unfamiliar with the plot of Jerome Robbin’s updated version of Shakespeare, West Side Story is set in 1950′s New York City where newly arrived Puerto Rican immigrant Maria falls in love with American Tony, whose gang The Jets are rivals to The Sharks, led by Maria’s brother Bernardo.

As the pair fall in love with each other, the gang feud worsens ending in violence and death.

The cast have all appeared in the West End shows in London and touring groups over the last number of years. I’m going to concentrate on the leading 3 roles, Maria, Tony, and Anita,

Maria was played by Katie Hall who was finalist in the BBC programme to find a representative for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. She  had a fine voice almost operatic which the role of Maria needs. 

Tony was played by Louis Maskell was a bit problematic he has a fine voice most of the time, but from his very first song Something’s Coming I noticed that he had a problem with the volume produced in his voice, going out of tune in that and Maria and the Quintet. But he sang a wonderful high C which Bernstein, requires at the end of Maria.

Djlenga Scott, who acted,sang and danced as Anita, was the best of leading roles on stage that night. It was worth the tickets alone just to see her do all three mentioned above in the song ‘America‘!

The conductor for the evening was a young Australian called Ben van Tienen, sometimes conducting his 18 musicians a little too vigorously. Some scenes conducted to fast than a expected, ‘ A Boy Like That‘, others a little slow ‘Gee, Officer Krupke

The show was directed by Joey McKennly who has been directing this musical around the world for the past 10 years. He studied with Jerome Robbins so is handing down the knowledge and upholding the tradition of original version of West Side Story to a new generation.

Great show but a few small irritations (tempo changes) in the performance, a good night out all in all.