AAODS West Side Story – Review

The show left you wanting more.

A cast of around 50 youngsters, lively music and a strong story line – how could this show fail.

The first night by the junior members of the Abergavenny Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society – performing to a full house – was smooth and slick, and left you wanting more.

Harvey Daniell followed his triumphant title role in last year’s production of The King and I, to play Tony from the Jets gang of Americans who hate the Puerto Rican gang The Sharks with a vengeance.

He meets and falls in love with the sister of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks and disaster is inevitable. Lucy Draper, in her first starring role with AAODS played his lover, Maria and their duets, especially Tonight were among the most memorable parts of the show.

But there were equally strong performances by Aimee Mogford as Maria’s friend Anita, Franceso Scarpetta as Riff, leader of the Jets and Jake Gardner as Bernardo.

Rhiannon Wallace, who first performed on the Abergavenny stage in pantomime, gets better and better with each role she tackles, and she was excellent as Rosalia and the typical American detective Schrank.

Young Harry Jones as Action and Kieran Butcher as Snow Boy almost stole the show with their acting (and singing) in Gee, Officer Krupke, and well want to see more of these two talented teenies.

There was strong support from Penelope Daniell, Tom Ballinger, Laura Chicken, Robert Peacock, Isaac Pritchard and Tommy Mogford.

The finale, featuring the show’s slickest number I Like To Be In America, raised the rafters of the Victorian theatre.

Reported by Lesley Flynn – FreePress

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