WEST SIDE STORY
Confusing, Ill-conceived, Overdone, unfocused, Self-indulgent, Ambitious, disappointing
See it if You can deal with a deconstructed Belgian take, all shiny bells & whistles, 2-storey video projections distracting from the actors onstage.
Don't see it if A WSS purist or if a violent, shockingly graphic rape scene disturbs; if you want to see a talented cast poorly choreographed below their abilities.
Also Revivals generally click when the zeitgeist, cultural or political, beckons. In this case, the attempt to deconstruct falls flat not because of changes/omissions but because they don’t work or add much. This riff rather than revival of West Side Story would have worked better as a straight production of Romeo & Juliet.
A Latino Tony? Integrated Jets? Please. In my experience as a Latino, those so inclined to talk of Spics often follow that with the N-word, and usually in the same breath. The new choreography is flat, not dynamic or exciting, a hard contrast to the music, which is. A Belgian modern dancer choreographing this is like Mozart played on zakoos; best to have let the dancers choreograph themselves—which they apparently did more on in America after pushing back against Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's signature arm waving and moves which completely ignored the hips. America wants to be danced, not commented on.
It's telling that much of the creative team has never lived in New York, and it shows, on many levels. Without even addressing the rain effects in the latter half, the tech throughout is overdone: brains aren’t programmed to flip between gigantic video projections and minuscule actors onstage that simply can’t compete. The result leaves much unfocused and confusing, the audience experience & emotional response for every performance differing dramatically, depending both on seating—from front to rear of house—and on each member's ability to quickly flip between and take in video and live performance.