VARIATIONS on the Romeo and Juliet story have been irresistible to film makers, playwrights, and choreographers over the years.

They are the lovestruck couples from different sides of the tracks, or warring social tribes.

But perhaps the most enduring riff on the original was the 1961 film West Side Story, which transposed the plot to New York where the white Jets gang were sworn enemies of the Puerto Rican Sharks. However often you watch it, the combination of enduring love story, wonderful music, timeless lyrics, and the sheer verve of the choreography, are an enduring joy.

There will reputedly be a Stephen Spielberg movie re-make out next year, but thanks to the Edinburgh Festival, WSS groupies didn’t have to wait. Earlier this week I watched an absolutely stunning concert performance at the Usher Hall with John Elliot Gardner conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who were obviously having a ball at being let loose on a non-classical blockbuster.

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Now, staged concert performances, especially of opera, are usually no more than a number of soloists doing their thing in front of the orchestra. Not this time. There was a full complement of Jets and Sharks, plus all the main characters, and the action took place behind, around, and in front of the orchestra not to mention the stairs to the stalls and just about anywhere else the cast could run around.

The choral singing and the soloists were all terrific and the legendary “rumble” and its tragic consequences were all beautifully choreographed. It was at once moving and exhilarating.

But here’s the thing. The storyline, featuring the resentment of white American youth at the migrant Hispanic community had a particularly potent resonance in the week more mass murders took place in the land of the free and the home of the gun culture.

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President Trump, who has made mocking and insulting America’s immigrants and their descendants something of a staple of his endless rallies and incontinent tweeting, laid the blame on mental illness. Not a shred of guilt about his own complicity. Not a word about the lack of gun control which sees people able to buy military style assault weapons over the counter with minimal checks.

A more salient tweet than anything he ever posted appeared on Twitter this week. It was an international chart featuring the incidence of mass shootings in 2019. Of the 24 countries collated, one had had three, and four had had one. The USA had 249.