Hundreds of local school children were transported back to 1950s America during a very special matinee performance of the Brentwood School Winter Theatricals Production of West Side Story.
Year Five pupils from Brentwood, Basildon and Grays enjoyed the spellbinding adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with flawless performances from the School’s talented young thespians, musicians and dancers.
The enthralled youngsters were on the edge of their seats as the 200-strong cast and crew brought the gang-controlled streets of Manhattan to life with their spine tingling vocal talent and artistry.
The young visitors from, St Peter’s C of E School, South Weald; Woodside Academy, Thurrock; Ursuline Preparatory, Warley; De La Salle School, Basildon, and Brentwood Preparatory School, found it hard to believe they were being entertained by pupils who were just a few years older than themselves.
As he left the Wessex Auditorium, one excited visitor gushed: “Did they get hurt practicing the fight scenes, they look like they are really fighting? It is so good I didn’t want the show to end“.
West Side Story is the latest instalment in a long tradition of challenging, high quality musical theatre productions at Brentwood School. Director of Performing Arts, Mr Matthew Bulmer, who only joined the School in September, said: “There is only one reason why the School is able to keep staging these large scale, musically complex shows…the students.
“It has been an absolute delight to spend so much time with such talented young actors, musicians, dancers and designers. Special mention must go to Hannah Ambrose and Lloyd Richards who have led the company with maturity, dedication and an exceptional level of skill. They have been wonderful role models and have helped inspire the next generation of performers at the School.
“The huge company of students working on West Side Story deserve all the credit in the world for the vast amount of work they have put in over the last three months. They really have created something special.”
Headmaster Ian Davies said: “West Side Story has been receiving rave reviews from all who have been able to secure tickets. Mr Bulmer, the Director, and Mr Florian Cooper, Musical Director, deserve enormous credit for bringing to life in a school setting this iconic production.”
The curtain comes down on West Side Story tomorrow evening when the show’s run finishes with a sold-out Gala Night.