Just play it cool, boy...real cool

Photo Alastair Muir.
Photo Alastair Muir.

GANG warfare, racial tension and high-kicking ballet moves — it’s all happening at the King’s this week as audiences are transported to the mean streets of 50s Manhattan.

For those unfamiliar with West Side Story — or the 1961 film version and its 10 Academy Awards — it’s a finger-clicking, jazz beat take on Romeo and Juliet, as New York native Tony falls in love with Peurto Rican Maria and attempts to unite his friends, the Jets, and Maria’s brother’s gang, the Sharks — despite each’s reservations about the other.

Shakespeare fans will know that there’s tragedy ahead for the pair, as the rivarly between the two groups comes to a violent head and leads to murder on the playground.

But before it (and sometimes during), there are plenty of colourful costumes, spectacular dance scenes and, of course, a song or two about life on the streets of the upper west side (Maria, Tonight, I Feel Pretty and America, to name a few).

Leading the cast are Katie Hall (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables) and Louis Maskell (Scrooge — The Musical), as well as Djalenga Scott as Anita and Jack Wilcox as Riff.

The production has toured the world, selling out in Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin, Madrid and Beijing — and Glasgow audiences are bound to fall for the charms of this well-worn musical too.

West Side Story runs January 15-25, 7.30pm plus Thurs, Wed and Sat mats at 2.30pm. Tickets £17.90 - £53.40.