WHEN you hear Andy Coxon and Gabriela Garcia sing for the first time you’re totally transfixed and the air fills with magic.
When you hear them together its an incredible, soul stirring experience and the tenderness they display as Tony and Maria is so real you’re sure to believe they’re head over heels in love for real.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this initially struck me as a strange choice for the RET as this classic musical has been performed many times over the years. But director Sarah Frankcom, who is about to depart this famous theatre for pastures new, has managed to give the show a modern twist while staying true to the spirit of the original Broadway hit.
I also wondered if the big dance numbers would work on the RET’s compact stage but they do and the choreography of Aletta Collins is vibrant and exciting, rather like the young company who perform it. Another question going through my head going to see this was where do they put the orchestra?
The answer is - in a specially constructed booth in the foyer and the deliver the timeless score to perfection, from the absolutely beautiful ballad Maria to the roof raising showstopper, America and of course Tonight, brimming with excitement and expectation.
Also very impressive is Jocasta Almgill as Maria’s sassy confidante, Anita. With Garcia’s playfully girlish Maria they are the most convincing of friends.
Musical theatre doesn’t get any better than this and I guarantee, as you float your way out of the theatre, you’ll be humming at least one of the timeless numbers.
The best show to hit the Manchester stage for years - do not miss this.
Until May 25. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - ***** Photo by Richard Davenport.