Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Westside Story

I missed the film and I had always wanted to see this famous show. Today, out of the blue I got an invitation to see it at Balai Budaya and in spite of a bad left leg ( it seems that a swelling in my thigh hits my nerves sending sparks throughout my left limb and making my left foot numb and painful), I still ventured out.

The show is fantastic if you're into dances, songs and music. But you've to read the synopsis of the play first to really understand and appreciate the story as portrayed through the songs and dances with minimal theatrics or acting. I didn't have time to read the synopsis but I think I got about 85% of the story right, as confirmed later when I did the reading at home.

Perhaps I shouldn't tell it out so that those who are going to see the show later will not be deprived of the guessing game that makes a stage show more interesting. But the story has been told many times, so let me touch a little on the plot. Two gangs, the jets and the Sharks were fighting for dominance in New York's upper Westside, the jets being Americans with Polish roots while the Sharks were Puerto Rican immigrants. They clashed and their leaders, Riff and Bernado agreed to a duel. Tony, a friend of Riff who worked at a Drugstore triedd to stop the fight. At a dance Tony met Maria, Bernado's sister who had just arrived in US, and fell in love at first sight with her. The duel which turned out to be a free-for-all ended as a knife-fight and Riff was killed. Tony, grieving over his friends death killed Bernado, his lovers brother. What happens had better watch the show.

Well, I could not stop to admire the beautiful physics of the male actors and dancers, real hunkies yet so subtle and perfect in their dance movements. The ladies were of course superb ballet dancers and suprano singers. Local productions performed by our local artists have also reached a respectable standard nowadays. But the physics of the actors, with the exception of Awie perhaps, leaves a lot of room for improvement. As for the dances, local production seems to me still wanting in synchronization of intricate movements when dancing in a big group. The vocals in the Westside Story production was to say the least amazing.

Well, I really enjoyed it although the kissing and the bed scene might not have been too comforting to local audience,especially when Tony really got off the bed with Maria, in his underpants.


rambomadonna said...

I was looking forward to the show since last year but the ticket so expensive lah. Good seat with great view, cheapest cost about RM 450 ++ I did ask Datin kalau ada ticket extra tp nampak gaya mcm takde.

Anyway, the local audience yang gi tgk international production like Mamma Mia, Westside Story nie are mature and open minded people. I just like to quote Ramli Ibrahim of Sutra Dance in "So You Think You Can Dance" Malaysia first Season to a couple dancing to a HOT salsa ... "SEX sells" hehehe

In Mamma Mia ... many of their lines are DOT DOT DOT ... hehehe

Missing KL ... and all my very "Cultured" activities.

norzah said...

Yes, I know about the 1/2k ticket and I wonder why so. In terms of S**Sells formula Westside Story is really very tame but juicy enough to make a traditional Malaysian mother go Aiyooooo. I noticed that those who came for the show were really high-brows, flashing all the glitters and curves, hehehe. Probably to them 1/2 k is breadcrumbs. The glamour of the play is just that it's a rare foreign dish.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
The things I remember about West Side Story were 1) Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn ( who later played Tom Thumb) and George Chakiris, 2) their fantastic dancing sequence with the New York tenement houses in the background (with all those iron staircase at the back of the houses)

It was a memorable musical, one of the best to hit the silver screen no doubt. Never had a chance to see the stage presentation, though.

norzah said...

Yes, Akhi Kk, the dance sequence with the tenement houses and the multi-decked iron staircases as background remained the most important feature of the show.In a film the dance sequence could be easily
edited but on stage it takes a lot of ingenuity to put the dances together in a smooth flow of events apropos the development of the plot. With tickets costing RM1/2k, I don't think you'd miss anything if you had seen the film. BTW I commend your memory for remembering the names of the stars.

norzah said...

Jaime- this is datin- OK, I can give you a tiket--pls sms's on 19 mei - i think...there will be a meeting - so do come -do call siti Hajar...:))

Anonymous said...

J, apa tunggu lagi? Kesian dengar u dah setahun nak tengok show tu. Get in touch bila di KL.