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I was completely engaged from the beautifully choreographed, well-danced prologue, to the stillness and drama of the bows.  

I loved the fact that there were four choreographers, who each took a different element of the piece, and created some wonderful dance numbers and fight scenes, it brought the whole musical to life, and it was also great to see so many young male dancers, who brought such vivacity and vigour to the production.

Henry Cox choreographed the Prologue and The Rumble, stretching his dancers to the utmost, and creating some thrilling moves, very well done.

Katherine Iles created a slightly different vibe in America, which the ladies danced well, and I loved her version of Cool – very cool; the moves creating the underlying tensions.

Edd Mitton choreographed the Dream Ballet very cleverly, making it edgy but still slightly trancelike.  It was very well danced and conceived.

Claire Stanley put her stamp on the Dance at the Gym, keeping it interesting.

All four choreographers really challenged their dancers, making their numbers truly memorable.  Everything was very well-rehearsed, sharp and attention-grabbing.

The ladies performed as well as they always do, and showed their expertise in some intricate numbers, but the men were outstanding in the way they flung themselves into the whole ethos of the show.

Lighting was good throughout, and supported the feel and atmosphere, whilst sound was very good, and the sound balance between stage and pit excelled.

I was very taken by the musicality of the orchestra under the direction of Clive Ogden, they made an amazing sound, and the cast followed their lead, making it a real treat for the ears, everything blended so well.

Costumes were all in keeping with the era, and were worn well by the cast.

With so many named parts it is not possible to mention everyone, but suffice to say there were no weak links.

I was particularly taken by the beautiful voice of James Schouten as Tony, effortless and so much feeling, I lived every word of his songs with him.  However, I would have liked a little more attack in his acting, to make him a more rounded character.

Katie Reimann’s Maria was a suitably demure but emerging young woman, with some very nice touches that made her very real.

I liked Rachel Breeze as Anita, she showed her feisty but caring side very well, and she coped well with the difficult drugstore scene.

Adam Thompson gave great energy, strength and bite to Action, creating a good contrast to the other Jets, which I appreciated.

Lee Cox was a convincing leader of the Jets in the part of Riff, particularly compelling in the fight with Bernardo.

I thought that on the whole the Jets were more credible than the Sharks, that said the Sharks were a strong group overall, led well by Stuart Riley as Bernardo.

The Officer Krupke number was very well done, and got a good reaction from the audience.

The older cast members played their characters well, drawing a definitive line between themselves and the young cast members.

I loved the drama and stillness of the bows, it was a fitting end to a superb production.  The concentration on the choreography may not have suited everyone’s taste, but for me it really breathed new life into the production, and enhanced the music.

St. Albans Musical Theatre Company

WEST SIDE STORY” review date: Nov 2017 at

Alban Arena, St Albans

Director: Alan Cox MD: Clive Ogden

Choreographer: Katherine Iles,

Claire Stanley, Edd Mitton, Henry Cox    


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