Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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REVIEW | West Side Story, Curve Theatre

West Side Story 
Curve Theatre, Leicester 

Curve Theatre's 2019 Christmas production of West Side Story is quite possibly the best yet from the Made at Curve creatives. With some of the finest music ever composed for the stage, set around an incredibly moving love story, it's an emotional and exhilarating rollercoaster that you'll be eager to get seats on. Known for being a modern take on the tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story was written by Arthur Laurent who used New York as the backdrop. Although this story feels like something you'd see on the daily news today. Set in the urban streets of the city that never sleeps, "gang warfare" is rife and society is split. 

The Romeo of this story is Tony (Jamie Muscato), once the leader of the Jets, a juvenile gang exclusive to the children of immigrants from Europe. His Juliet, Maria (Adriana Ivelisse), is the sister of the big boss of the Sharks, a rival gang made up of youngsters from Puerto Rico. The tragedy in the story comes when the Sharks' leader resorts to a knife to beat a Jet in a fight. Both boys end up dead, and Tony goes on the run after murdering Maria's brother. Before we see the finale, Tony too falls victim to the foolish, wasteful children's games that have, in this day and age, continue to shock and anger our society.

West Side Story is a musical that most definitely stands the state of time, especially more so when it became a film. Jerome Robbins' delivered the effective screen remake is definitely what gave this musical the international reputation it deserved. It's definitely the songs which helped to put the seal on this musical's status.

Curve has done a remarkable job with this classic, without losing the very elements that the audience remember it for in superb style and it was genuinely one of the best productions of our time. The orchestra was euphoric in delivering Leonard's Bernstein's iconic score, it brought chills, especially in the more intense moments of the story.

West Side Story catapulted dance which hadn't been seen on the musical stage before , in fact, it's what I have always loved most about this musical. Ellen Kane does an incredible here in putting the style and energy from the 1950s musical but given it something so new and exciting for the audience. It was exhausting watching those performers move through the popular numbers like America and Cool with the fluidity, detail and energy they did.

 Nikolai Foster has taken this musical and created something that will excite audiences in the local communities but further afield too. There's so much energy and passion in how West Side Story is delivered, remembering that for many people seeing this production will know it well and will want to see it done well! The set by Michael Taylor has been crafted to move as quickly as the story which unfolds. A moveable three-storey creation, metal fences and a huge pile of trash are the perfect antidotes for creating the intense environment which we immerse ourselves in during the production.

The cast put on what is an unforgettable performance, the 20-strong cast fill the space with their spirit for this tragic story and they have a genuine passion for this production that is clearly demonstrated. Jamie Muscato is superb as Tony, his rendition of Maria was endearing and really loving. Adriana Ivelisse is impeccable as Maria. Both actors aligned perfectly in their vocals and had natural chemistry as the tragic love characters.

The rival gangs did a sublime job at executing the fight scenes, there had clearly been a lot of time taken into portraying their conflict between one another. If you are looking for a more light-hearted number in this production, Gee, Officer Krupke is highly entertaining but with a serious message at its heart.

West Side Story is my favourite production at the Curve and has reignited my love for this musical all over again. It's top-class through and through, a superb job. Although it is jam-packed with high-energy choreographic and a tragic love story, it sheds a light on gang violence and the need for it to seize in our country. This musical couldn't come at a more fitting time to show what gang violence does to those around people.

West Side Story is performing at Curve Theatre, Leicester until 11 January 2020. 


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