Reviewed by Allison Thomas
There is a rather dark, confronting feeling from this musical – confronting from the beginning with use of film and screen background, a roller coaster of mixed emotions – love loss fear punishment hope despair guilt shame, and the separation, confusion and rebellion of misunderstood youth. With huge themes such as sexuality (“shame is a product of education”), identity crisis (between child and adult) and relationship challenges (forbidden love, sex and intimacy), it brought back memories of the some of the angst, anxiety and frustration of my teenage years.
The set was dark and foreboding, with creative graffiti and stark boxes giving different levels to the action. There were also plenty of strong rock songs, singing, dancing, swearing, emotional outbursts – control and resistance, rebellion and surrender. With odd bits of humour lightening the mood at times.
Directed by Hayley Horton, who ingeniously set this production in modern times (although it was written in late 1800s). Thomas Phillips’ choreography gave strong, powerful and sometimes erotic sensual dance moves by the entire energetic cast.
The moody music by Duncan Sheik, interpreted by Mark DeLaine as Musical Director, set the tone throughout the whole evening.
Great performances from Mitchell Smith as Melchior, Millicent Sarre as Wendla, Jemma Allen as Ilse and Connor Olsson-Jones as Moritz. Special kudos to Josh Barkley who played all 9 adult men and Kate Anolak who played 5 different adult women! Obviously the original play was German, however the authoritarianism could have been experienced in any country. All the cast were good singers, however at times they were a little quiet and we didn’t hear all the words, which didn’t spoil the effect however.
The whole cast gave a wonderful performance and on the Opening Night a mostly young audience gave an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end.
What an awakening!
If you want to experience musical that’s serious, fun, stern and loving, despairing and uplifting, sex and shame, happy and sad, with great songs and dances from a young vibrant cast – go and see Hill Musical Company’s “Spring Awakening” this November.
The cast of Spring Awakening