Holgate Jets to top with ‘West Side Story’ show

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n MUSICAL - ‘West Side Story’, Holgate Comprehensive School, Hucknall

THIS production proved beyond any doubt that there is a place for Holgate in the list of schools with well-deserved specialist status in performing arts.

With three performances, it was a refreshingly vibrant version of the Broadway blockbuster, which contains unforgettable songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.

As director Claire Backhouse indicated in the printed programme, the musical has a strong moral message.

New York City’s Jets gang are restlessly rebellious teenagers who resent the Puerto Rican Sharks because of their sheer unfamiliarity.

It takes a tragic climax to underline that people are all equal in life, love and death.

The impact of Holgate’s offering was heightened by members of the Jets coming off stage to mingle with the audience.

This modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo And Juliet’ featured Ed Turner and Naomi-Lee Perkins in the leading roles of Tony and Maria.

It was hardly in the most romantic tradition when two tables were unceremoniously plonked on the stage for Maria to get on in the balcony scene!

But Ed shone in his confidently-delivered solo numbers, ‘Something’s Coming’ and ‘Maria’, and his touching duet, ‘One Hand, One Heart’, with Naomi-Lee, who reached high notes impressively.

Solid support came from Jacob Burrows as Jets leader Riff and Fahad Qayyum in the role of Bernardo, his counterpart with the Sharks.

Cast as Maria’s friend, Anita, Letitia Grey made an outstanding contribution with her mastery of accent and stage presence, helping to make the rousing chorus number, ‘America’, a real showstopper.

Tom Dolman and Frankie Whitehouse were the ‘bad cops’, Shrank and Krupke, who get no respect from the Sharks and do not deserve any.

Choreographer Georgina Grimshaw said it was the biggest challenge in her five shows at Holgate, with the students working exceptionally hard despite some tears at one point.

The show, which attracted sell-out audiences, was musical director Aoife Coyle’s final one at Holgate and it was certainly a memorable one for her to bow out with.

n OUR PHOTO shows members of the cast in action — DISPIC NHUD12-3007-3.