Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Musical classic will blow you away

Post Thumbnail

West Side Story was voted the greatest musical of all time recently. Now it’s the turn of Aberdeen audiences to click their fingers along with the iconic show, writes Susan Welsh

So, who are you going to be – a Shark or a Jet?

When you hear the first beats of the jagged, pulsating chords penned by Leonard Bernstein for the opening sequence of West Side Story, you’ll feel the tension that comes with being a member of the two gangs, The Sharks and The Jets.

Even 50 years on, there’s something about that opening score, apart from being instantly recognisable, that lets the audience know they’re in for a night they’ll never forget.

The multi-award-winning musical visits HM Theatre in Aberdeen from Tuesday, June 17, and is the hottest ticket of the year.

More than half a century has passed since the musical opened on Broadway and sent shockwaves throughout theatreland.

Daring, innovative and way ahead of its time, no one had seen a musical with such an explosive storyline and cutting-edge dance or heard music with such dramatic impact before.

It changed the face of musical theatre forever, while the story of love and hate, which is at its heart, remains relevant today.

Barely a week goes by without news of another teen stabbing, while the issue of gangs has never gone away.

The gangs in this case are The Jets and The Sharks – teenage boys and girls who have invariably experienced the darker side of home life, ranging from poverty and unemployment to absent or alcoholic fathers.

With the exception of the prologue, which takes place over a number of months, West Side Story unfolds over an action-packed two-day period in the 1950s.

The Jets are the established white gang of Manhattan’s upper west side in New York. They have been enjoying running their neighbourhood and the bond that comes from being in a gang.

They’ve all been born in America, but have Polish roots.

Their control gradually diminishes as more Puerto Ricans move into the area and form their own rival gang, The Sharks.

By the end of the opening scene, it’s obvious the rival gangs will go to extreme lengths to protect their patch and themselves, and only a “rumble” or all-out fight between the two gang leaders will resolve matters.

Hate and love drive much of the plot, but it’s the music and dance scenes that you’ll fall in love with.

Leading an immensely talented cast are Katie Hall as Maria, just arrived from Puerto Rico, who has fallen in love with Tony (Louis Maskell), co-founder of The Jets.

Working in a drugstore, he feels he has outgrown the gang, but still feels loyal to them.

Both Maria and Tony are full of burning ambition to break free of the rut they are in, but that’s not going to be easy, especially with Tony’s best friend, Riff (Jack Wilcox), swearing to chase The Sharks away and challenging Sharks leader Bernardo to a fight.

To complicate matters, Maria is Bernardo’s sister.

The show, which is dripping in atmosphere, has more musical numbers than you can shake a stick at, all of them familiar and wonderful.

These range from the powerful When You’re a Jet, which is full of menace and ignites feelings of tension, to Something’s Coming, the sweeping love song Maria, and the funny, fast-paced America.

Tonight, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere – so many well-loved and familiar songs and they’re all here in the one show which moves audiences from laughter and smiles to tears at its final, dramatic conclusion.

Along with showstopping numbers, there’s fabulous high-energy dancing in this production, which is directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely who has used the full, original choreography in this show.

Sell your granny and the family silver if need be and get your hands on a ticket for what promises to be the biggest and best show at HMT this year.

West Side Story visits HM Theatre, Aberdeen, from Tuesday, June 17, until Saturday, June 28. Contact 01224 641122 or visit www.aberdeen

Already a subscriber? Sign in