Tuesday 27th September

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West Side Story at the Royal Albert Hall Review

| Theatre | 03/07/2012

By Viktoria Kirkova (@vkirkova)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the absolute masterpiece that is West Side Story , The Royal Albert Hall presented a high definition screening of the classic film combined with the astonishing acoustics of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Reporters from WinkBall were sent to the Royal Albert Hall on the 23rd of June 2012 to capture the breathtaking effect that this type of unique performance had on the fans of the compelling story.

The mixture of film screening and live orchestra has been previously used with the impressive performances of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Matrix. The celebration show of West Side Story proved once more, that when film is united with other forms of art, such as dance and live music, it can provoke a whole new world of emotions.

Set in the mid 1950s, in New York’s Upper West Side, in between the vicious battle between two neighbourhood gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, comes the love story of Tony and Maria. Set in the backdrop of rivalry, racial hatred and social strains, the romance thrives against the inevitable ending. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the pivotal score, composed by Leonard Bernstein, exposes all of those timeless antipodes of the human soul. Through the audiences’ favourite songs – America, Somewhere and Tonight with lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim.

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest classics, the film adaptation, created by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins in 1961 has received 10 Academy Awards to date with indisputable critical acclaim. Fifty years after its creation, it still manages to overwhelm both old and new fans. WinkBall’s video reporters gathered reviews from the breathless audience, which showed the extraordinary emotions that the show had triggered. Some described it as “one of the best things they have seen in a long, long time”, others were falling in love with the romance of Tony and Maria all over again.

Maybe it is the archetypal story of boy meets girl and then their love has to go against the grain of their social backgrounds that makes West Side Story an all-time favourite. Or perhaps it is the brilliance of the music and the genius of the staging that keep this film alive. I don’t know for sure. All I can say is – the enhancement of everything that we love about West Side Story with the magic sound of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra made the this show even more everlasting.

For more reactions from the audience, you can visit WinkBall, and for more information for events on at The Royal Albert Hall, please click here.

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