SHAKESPEARE with songs? Highly unlikely.
Actually, that’s a fair enough comment as West Side Story bears little relation to its inspiration, Romeo and Juliet.
The street louts who make up the Sharks and the Jets are pretty far removed from the Montagues and Capulets of old.
But it retains its tragedy even while updating the story to 50s New York and the warring families have become the aforementioned street gangs.
Played by the Harlequin-Eastwood Theatre for Youth, it tells the story of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony – he’s the former joint leader of the Jets who has since gone straight and she’s the brother of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo, a Puerto Rican gang.
The drama is played out with a selection of famous songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
The two principal characters have to endure their backgrounds family and friends to struggle for true love.
Songs include Maria, America, Tonight, I Feel Pretty and Gee, Officer Krupke.
The young folk at Harlequin Youth Theatre will be playing their hearts out, as ever, to recreate that 50s feel.
Harlequin’s production of West Side Story is at Eastwood Park Theatre from March 19 until March 23. Tickets available from the box office.