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A Weekend Away

Last weekend I went for an overnight stay in Manchester, UK.  I always love going to Manchester, it is great for shopping, restaurants and at Christmas time they have their own German style Christmas market.  This trip though was to go and see my all time favourite musical West Side Story.

Prosecco in Manchester

West Side Story

My love for West Side Story began when I was young.  I used to have dance lessons and every year we would do a show.  1 year we performed ‘America’ from West Side Story and my love for the musical was born!  I remember that I went to see the full show at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford and my mum bought the CD.  I would then spend hours in the front room singing and dancing to all the songs.  So when I saw it was touring in a new UK production I just had to go!

West Side Story UK Tour Manchester

I pursuaded my boyfriend, Keil, to come along with me and luckily he agreed.  We went to the Saturday matinee performance so that we could have the evening free in Manchester.  The show was held at The Palace Theatre.  We were concerned about the seats as when I booked there weren’t many available in the stalls and although next to each other 1 of the seats was £20 cheaper than the other.  To our relief the seats were good and we both had a great view.

West Side Story was even better than I remembered!  The story is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but has been given a more contemporary theme and is set in 1950’s New York.  In the show there are 2 gangs, The Sharks and The Jets.  The first are a group of immigrants recently moved from Puerto Rico and the latter are New Yorkers.  As well as a key love story of 2 opposition group members the story is really based on racism and a fight for the ruling gang. It really is a powerful story and even today is just as relevant as when it was first brought to Broadway.

Of course I loved the performance of ‘America’ and I had to stop myself from singing along.  In fact all of the songs were fantastic and the dancing is extraordinary.  My love affair with West Side Story will continue.

West Side Story is performing in Manchester until early January and continues its UK tour in 2014.  If it comes anywhere near you or you ever get a change to see the show I would really recommend it.  Even my boyfriend, who isn’t a big musicals fan, enjoyed it!  You can keep up to date and see photos and videos on their website.

West Side Story The Film in Pizza Express

After the show we went back to our hotel to get ready for the evening and we decided to go for tea at Pizza Express.  This particular one was on the same street as the theatre and so they were showing the West Side Story film which made a nice end to the evening!

Christmas Market

The following day we did some shopping and went on our yearly trip to Manchester’s Christmas Market.  This is one of my favourite things to do before Christmas time.  Sadly it was the last day when we went but this meant there were some great offers from some of the stalls.

Santa at Manchester Christmas Market

What I like about the Christmas Market in Manchester is it is spread through the city so you can pop in and out of it, rather than have to specifically just go the market.  Last year we went to German markets in Munich and Nuremberg and to me the Manchester one has a really authentic feel about it.

Mulled Wine at Manchester Christmas Market

Mulled Wine at Manchester Christmas Market

We had my favourite winter drink mulled wine and because the Manchester market has so much choice for food, myself and Keil got 2 things and shared them.  We had a delicious hog roast sandwich and some potatoes in an onion and cheese sauce which were yummy.

Keil trying the cheesy potatoes at Manchester Christmas Market

Although the Christmas Market has finished for this year I would recommend you check it out next year.  The markets usually open early November until just before Christmas.

Would you like to see West Side Story on it’s tour or have you already seen it?  Did you go to a Christmas Market this year?  I would love to read what you thought in the comments below.