West Side Story

– News

Last week the boys in Years 7 and 8 transformed the Woodroffe Hall into New York in the1950s, as they delighted their parents and friends with three performances of Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”. They enjoyed both the show and the opportunity to entertain their families. The Jets, led by Riff (Patrick Keener) and Sharks, led by Bernardo (Karan Sofat) were rival gangs who sang, danced, acted and fought brilliantly and the boys described it as working together with “real team spirit”.

There were many outstanding individual performances, including Maria (Andreas Yerou) and Tony (Marcus Chaplin). We are fortunate to have so many talented boys who performed solos and acted as both the boys and girls in the gangs, involving some very quick costume changes! They all looked most convincing in make up and costumes. Mrs Ingram and Mrs Marks ensured that all the characters wore the exact fashion of the day and sourced and made all the costumes.

Consuela (Freddy Williams), Rosalia (Dylan Shah) and Francisca (Adam Hope), delighted the audiences as they sang and danced the characters of Maria’s three friends. Vincent Mastin’s performance of the feisty Anita will be remembered for a long time as he danced the Mambo and sang “America”. Other excellent character performances were given by Rohan Ashar (Gladhand), Millan Dhawan (Shrank), Ateek Walia (Krupke), Rishi Joshee (Chino), James Olayinka (Action) and Aman Sandhu (Doc). Henry Gadsdon provided the Spanish voices and all the gang members worked hard to develop their own individual characters.

The exciting dances and fight scenes were choreographed by Miss Allanson, who gave the boys the confidence to perform to a high standard. Mr Singleton directed the music and the boys described his playing as “awesome”; he certainly brought out the best in each of our singers. Our backstage team were led by Mrs Williams and Mrs Murray who seamlessly executed the scene changes with the help of Lakshman Samarakoon, Alex Cumming and Arran Kanth. The sound and lighting team brought the whole performance to life and I am very grateful to Mr Taylor, Mr Ivory and Thomas Bailey for all their hard work. Mr Manthorp created the perfect atmosphere for the play with his scenery of graffitied walls and authentic advertisement hoardings. Mr Savill, Miss Finn and Mr James ensured that the sound and microphones were fully operational, which was a very difficult task. We are also most grateful to all the parents who helped with costume, scenery, make up and backstage. The boys have learnt a great deal about the importance of team work in the performing arts and the audiences appreciated their hard work and efforts. I have enjoyed directing another St Martin’s production.

Angela O’Farrell-Bernays

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