Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Spring Awakening

Derived from a German play written around 1890 and first performed in 1906 the Sydney Theatre Company's production of the musical "Spring Awakening" is an interesting contrast. The setting remains a German speaking location in the 1890s whilst the musical numbers and choreography are very much the 21st century.

The plot is about pubescent teenagers, sexually innocent when not ignorant, raised in a strict religious environment exploring their emerging sexuality. I found the first act somewhat strange and cannot decide whether it is juvenile in parts or actually very cleverly juvenile, if you get the distinction. The second act, more dramatic, seemed the stronger of the two.

Nonetheless I enjoyed the performance immensely. Apart from two experienced professionals the cast was drawn from open auditions and all are making their professional debuts. And what a talented bunch they are. All of them possess strong and interesting singing voices and their ensemble and individual work was impressive.

Unlike most modern musicals where the musical numbers ironically are often the weakest element the musical pieces in Spring Awakening were a strong feature. Again, unlike modern musicals which often rely on technical wizardry to dazzle, in this musical the staging is simple yet very effective.

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