THIS year's main school production played to over 1,100 people over four days and gained rave reviews from the audiences, many of whom compared it favourably to the professional production currently touring the UK.
This is one of the most ambitious and complex musicals to stage but, with a fantastic staff and student orchestra under the masterful baton of Chris Toomer and Charlotte Fishwick's inspired choreography, the large cast pulled it off and earned their last night standing ovation and four curtain calls.
The story is a tragic one and the ill-fated love affair between Maria (Freya Snelling) and Tony (Sam Sanger) was beautifully portrayed with real emotional intensity against the tense rivalry of the gangs, the Jets coolly led by Riff (Harry Abbott) and the Sharks led with bravado by Bernardo (Elliot Gooch). The three main adults, Lieutenant Schrank (Jacob Timms), Officer Krupke (Ben Lewis) and drugstore owner Doc (Arthur Godden) could only look on in despair as the violence escalated.
On an exciting and intricate set beautifully lit by lighting technicians Rhodri Morris and Ollie Sturgess, the scenes were played out and crowd favourites such as 'America', 'I Feel Pretty' and 'Officer Krupke' were staged with great finesse and enthusiasm.
Producer Ben Abbott thanked the many adults who had given up time to help prepare for the production and praised the dedication of the hugely talented and committed cast for another legendary John Kyrle production.