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 west side story 

the fugard theatre | artscape opera house | cape town | 2015 | 2018

the fugard theatre | joburg theatre | johannesburg | 2017



set design

costume design

lighting design


musical direction


Johan Engels

Conor Murphy

Birrie le Roux

Joshua Cutts

Tim Mitchell

Louisa Talbot

Charl-Johan Lingenfelder

Jesse Kramer

Nardus Engelbrecht

Conor Murphy



Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress in a Musical: Lynelle Kenned

Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Actor in a Musical: Jonathan Roxmouth

Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Stephen Jubber

Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Bianca le Grange

Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Lighting Design: Joshua Cutts

Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Set Design: Johan Engels and Conor Murphy

Naledi Award for Best Set Design: Johan Engels and Conor Murphy

Naledi Award for Best Lighting Design: Joshua Cutts

Naledi Award for Best Original Choreography: Louisa Talbot

Naledi Award for Best Musical Director: Charl-Johan Lingenfelder

Naledi Award for Best Actress in a Musical: Lynelle Kenned

Naledi Nomination for Best Costume Design: Birrie le Roux

Naledi Nomination for Best Director of a Musical: Matthew Wild

Naledi Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Bianca le Grange

Naleldi Nomination for Best Production of a Musical



"A dazzling triumph brimming with South African talent ... this is a mammoth and hugely ambitious multimillion-rand production which showcases extraordinary local talent from set, lighting, sound and costume design to choreography and musical and stage performance ... This is a production infused with vitality, gritty realism and spectacular stagecraft which makes full use of the cavernous stage at the Artscape Opera House ... the superb all-round ensemble cast bring it magically to life. There is not a wasted moment on the stage, not a single superfluous action, motion, lighting or scene change as each flows magically and seamlessly into the next." DAILY MAVERICK


"Matthew Wild’s interpretation of West Side Story is as good as any musical gets ... the production is simply superb – a perfect acquiescence of form and content. Conor Murphy’s colossal moving sets that depict the cold, harsh concrete jungle that the story is set against are craftily juxtaposed with the soft, romanticism and dreams of a better future of the protagonists" THENEXT48HOURS


"★★★★ West Side is an SA success story - a wonderfully realised, really huge production that dazzles on a visual level" CAPE ARGUS


"West Side Story explodes onto the Artscape Opera House stage ... This is one of the most compelling re-enactments of the Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers theme I’ve seen ... the set has a star quality all of its own, an inner-city design visualisation inspired by Johan Engels’s designs before his untimely passing ... West Side Story is destined for sell-out success and is not to be missed." CAPE TIMES


"The dynamic creative team comprising director Matthew Wild, musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, and choreographer Louisa Talbot turns the world's most famous musical into a memorable masterpiece that showcases the best talent South Africa has to offer ... Conor Murphy's magnificent and awe inspiring set becomes an important character in the musical, a colossal shape-shifting and mutating entity that turns ordinary spaces into extraordinary worlds" BIZCOMMUNITY


"a vibrant, energetic musical ... The staging is mind-blowing, and really has to be seen to be believed. It was conceptualised by theatre designer Johan Engels, who sadly died in November while working on this ... West Side Story flat out rocks" WEEKEND ARGUS


"★★★★ Die stel is indrukwekkend en bied aan die groot rol­verdeling die regte ruimte om die choreografie behoorlik ten toon te stel. Die skaal daarvan is indrukwekkend ... Die gehoor word bederf met ’n kleur- en klankryke ervaring ... tragiese gebeure word selde so verruklik vertel" DIE BURGER


"this is an exceptional production. It is beautifully designed, intuitively directed, the performances are subtle and beautiful, hard and cruel ... it is gritty and violent and real. The Jets and Sharks are hoodlums and violent. The girls are materialistic and manipulative. The cops are bullies ... all I want to do is to see it again, to make sure I have not missed a moment of the artistry." B SHARP ENTERTAINMENT


"Matthew Wild really created something special with his version of West Side Story ... There's no denying that this was the crowning achievement of Wild's relatively young career ... Every one of his flights of fancy panned out, and the result was something that breathed with life and exuded imagination at every corner." THENEXT48HOURS - BEST THEATRE PRODUCTIONS 2015


"★★★★★ Matthew Wild's production brings out more strongly than ever the essential power of the work: it's thought-provoking juxtaposition of brutality and tenderness ... this West Side Story throbs with fresh energy and great poignancy" CAPE ARGUS



"A triumph, pulsating with high energy" CAPE ARGUS

"It was impressive the first time around, and now it’s even better ... Director Matthew Wild once again marshals an extraordinary cast of triple threats into action, maintaining a tight yet nuanced pace throughout" WEEKEND SPECIAL

"In 2018, The Fugard's West Side Story is even better than it was before, with a company of actors ... that truly understands Matthew Wild and Louisa Talbot's audacious staging of the piece on a visceral level. The result ... is an emotional rollercoaster that is second to none. When I look back at the various productions and performances of West Side Story that I have seen to date, this is the one I will remember ... Together, this company is a force of nature, binding the languages of acting, movement, song - audiences will never have felt the "Quintet" so land powerfully before - and dance into a seamless whole.BROADWAYWORLD


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