Reviewed by David Smith
13 is the story of 12 year old New Yorker Evan Goldman who moves to a small town in Indiana. His experiences there show contemporary elements of early adolescence: – finding friends, social isolation, being a geek or in the cool set, disabilities and self-discovery.
Debut director Rodney Hutton handled these strands well. Most of the themes were relayed through song and dance, well managed by musical director Michelle Nightingale and choreographer Mel George.
13 featured, appropriately enough, thirteen characters, the six main roles being played alternately by two casts. Both cast and band performed confidently and capably.
Benji Riggs was convincing as Evan. He moved and sang well and sensitively captured the character’s vulnerability. As the central figure he effortlessly held the narrative together.
Sarah Thorpe brought a strong, sure voice to her songs and a calm self-possession to her character as Evan’s girl-next-door, Patrice. Her solos, especially What it Means to be a Friend and Good Enough were a delight, and she combined well with Evan in the tender Tell Her.
Others of special note were Jamie Hornsby as the disabled Archie, Georgia Payze as the scheming Lucy, and Madeleine Russell as the cheerleading Kendra. In addition Connor Olsson-Jones sparkled as the side-kick Eddie.
Apart from occasional sound balance problems, the production was tight, balanced, well-focused and full of energy.