Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
61 views
61 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
75 views
75 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
65 views
65 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
96 views
96 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
44 views
44 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Review: SMuTS West Side Story – ‘Sensuous, humorous and heartbreaking’

Photograph: Malcolm Tam

The main SMuTS production of 2016-17 was West Side Story (directed by Andrew Crouch), a rousing, high-energy production which played to sold out audiences through five performances at the new ACCA. As such a beloved story, productions are often liable to fall short of audience expectations, with many challenging musical numbers, complex cultural depictions, and clear preconceptions going in. The tension is immediately lifted by an energetic-bordering-on-chaotic opening sequence, but it is the first rendition of flagship number “Tonight” that truly reassures the audience that they’re in safe hands.

The show’s male lead and heartthrob, Tony, played by George Martin Marino (a physics student who had never put foot on a stage before this stunning debut) and female lead Maria (Rosa Samuels) captured the authenticity of the fairytale ‘first love’ story, and that vulnerability came through grippingly in their first song together. Marino’s smooth vocal ability comes across from the offset with his solo “Something’s Coming”. Samuels’s acting carries the intimacy of the production throughout, and maintains the tension and emotion of the climactic final scene, in which she is left largely alone to bring the audience to a satisfying conclusion.

Of the musical numbers, the clear audience favourite was “America”, a rousing number which worked especially well courtesy of the all-female cast. Of the four stage versions these journalists have seen, the SMuTS version of “America” was the most engaging, driven by the believable depiction of the various experiences of life as an immigrant in America – in the process giving a full and developed look at the personal experiences of the Puerto Rican Sharks in a way that often gets lost.

The one who really steals the show is Elly Warboys as Anita. Equal parts sensuous, humorous and heart-breaking, she left an impression on the audience every time she entered the stage. With Sorin Prodea as the highly charismatic Bernardo, the couple’s fantastic chemistry brought the Sharks – characters who are often played stoically – to life with their physical presence, despite the sadly few lines they are given together by the script. Chino, while in many productions a character left to fade into the background, was played with masterful comedic timing and emotional nuance by Steffan Chanyaem.

On the other side, the role of Riff, leader of the Jets, is brought to life by Samuel Longville, who brings out the tough yet caring leadership of the character. With a convincing accent throughout, he brought out the masculinity often lost in depictions of Riff, and preserved the unifying stage presence around which the choreography of the Jets hangs together, especially during musical numbers. In the sharply choreographed “Cool” this is brought clearly into focus, as Riff acts as a teacher to the other gang members. Through his magnetic presence, it is Riff who moves the story along and brings a real comradeship to the Jets.

Fellow Jets had some excellent moments, too – largely brought out in “Gee, Officer Krupke”, another crowd favourite. Particular standouts were Charlie Passalacqua’s A-Rab, who led the number, and Isabella Thorpe-Woods’s Diesel, who was an excellent example of the successful gender-swapping of several roles.

It is not just the younger characters who stand out, with a particularly memorable turn from William jf Walker as Doc, in his first foray into the world of musical theatre. Bringing stage presence and weighty charisma, it’s on his intervention that the plot takes its tragic turn, and he brings the audience along with that tonal shift.

The staging was minimalist but effective and allowed space for the large-scale dance numbers full scope to leave their impression on the audience. Choreographers Erin Knox-Macaulay and Emily Davies-Hawes did an impressive job orchestrating a dance-heavy show with a large cast, including many different styles of dance – all of which were performed with great skill. Out of many impactful musical numbers, our favourite moment in the production was key musical number “Somewhere”, which involved an impressive choral arrangement combined with the full orchestra as live accompaniment in a dream sequence which sent a chill up the spine of every member of the audience.

An incredibly enjoyable performance, we can only hope for another show like this from the Sussex Musical Theatre Society. We are left with the knowledge that with SMuTS, even “pale, blond engineering students” (Ronan Martin) can be Puerto Rican gang members on the stage.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
61 views
61 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
75 views
75 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
65 views
65 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
96 views
96 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
44 views
44 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
61 views
Arts
61 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
61 views
Film & Theatre
61 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
75 views
Sports
75 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
65 views
Arts
65 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
96 views
Arts
96 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1157 views1
Campus News
1157 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
44 views
News
44 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
103 views1
News
103 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
103 views
Campus News
103 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
113 views
Opinion
113 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
404 views
Arts
404 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
406 views
Arts
406 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
378 views
Arts
378 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
439 views
Arts
439 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
452 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
400 views
Arts
400 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
374 views
Arts
374 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
569 views
Campus News
569 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
320 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
935 views
Arts
935 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
380 views
Arts
380 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…