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Spring Awakening


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#1 PaulT

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:09 PM

Although the programme said that this was an “Amateur Production” there was nothing amateur about it at all.  
There is a danger that when you have seen (and loved a show) 18 times in the Westend that watching a production in a provincial theatre might be an anticlimax.
Completely Productions version of “Spring Awakening” was amazing.  Simon Carnell and Katrina Boyd (Director and Assistant Director) gathered together a young and highly talented cast who gave energetic and brilliant performances on the two nights we saw the show.  Both nights the theatre was packed and the audiences added to the unique “Spring Awakening experience”.  The double encore and standing ovation was evidence of how incredible this show is.
Spring Awakening is musical theatre at its most challenging.  Based on the controversial 1891 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind the story is about physical abuse, incest, underage sex and suicide - not what most people would expect to witness during a musical.  Somehow Spring Awakening weaves all of these topics and some incredible rock songs into one of the best and most moving of shows.  
One of the subtle changes from the original Westend production was to have more adults on stage in the role of ‘swings’.  The swings (understudies) got to come on stage more and were part of the action. This worked with particularly good effect in “Totally” and with cast members moving around the aisles the whole theatre seemed to rock in this number.
The simplified but never the less very effective set was well lit and having the musicians on stage and allowing the audience to sit on “stage seats” was particularly successful.
Special attention was paid to the hairstyles of the cast which, for a Spring Awakening perfectionist like me, was much appreciated.
The excellent band was directed by Nikki Laurence.  Each entry and intro was timed brilliantly and all of the musical numbers worked really well.   The sound crew did really well with the large number of hand held microphones used in the show.
Highlights included Joshua Dever (Melchoir) singing “Those you’ve known” and “Left behind”; Casper Grey (Moritz) had the whole theatre rocking with “And Then There Were None” and “Don’t Do Sadness”.  His top notes were particularly fine and made each of his songs very moving.
Wendla was played by Harriet Payne whose singing of “Whispering” was incredible.  Her voice was just right for the part - her fine performance of the opening song (“Mamma who bore me”) set the standard for the rest of the show.
Richard Dilley (Hanschen) was very impressive.  He and Douglas Rutter (Ernst) got the balance just right in the very moving (but funny) vineyard scene.  Both delivered excellent performances and spot on top notes!
Georg (Mitchell Lathbury) made the piano scene with his tutor very funny and his wonderful entry in “My junk” got everyone laughing.    
Greg Marshall (Otto) completed the impressive line up of “Boys” in the show and treated us to some impressive singing in “Touch me”.
The “Girls” were equally impressive; Laura Allen was perfect for the role of Anna and delivered the line “Decking the entire sanctuary with orchids and chrysanthemums” with charm - her lovely harmonies in the reprise “Mamma bore me” were excellent.  Thea (Natalie Amanda Grey) had some very funny lines too as well and some super vocals in “My Junk”.
Sarah Atkinson (Martha) was superb in “The dark I know well” and had no problem with the notoriously difficult tuning of the opening lines of that song.  Her voice was then joined in that song by Lauren Dyer (Ilse).  Lauren’s soft Irish accent was just right for the part and her dialogue with Moritz and subsequent singing of “Blue wind” was brilliant. Her opening to the final song (“Purple summer”) gave the show an optimistic and positive end.      
The numerous adult female roles were brilliantly played by Alessandra Marshall who made a lovely and moving mother to Melchior and a repressed and embarrassed mother to Wendla.  She was wonderful as Otto’s fantasy naughty piano teacher and her portrayal of the stern school mistress was also worthy of mention.  
Andy Nicol took on all of the adult male roles.  He delivered his tricky school master’s lines perfectly and was especially nasty to Melchior and Moritz.  As Moritz’s father he was mean and unloving.  As the doctor he was witty.  As the school master he was cold and unfeeling.  As a person (when I chatted to him after the show) he was warm and friendly!
My only criticism of the show was that it was only on for one week.  When musical theatre productions are as good as this one seeing it only twice is never enough.


#2 Guest_Joshua Dever_*

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:48 PM

This was easily the best production I have ever been involved in

#3 Guest_douglas rutter_*

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:05 PM

indeed it was my friend miss it so much already

#4 Guest_Andy Nicol_*

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:21 AM

Major withdrawal symptoms last night!!!!!! But what fantastic memories to hold on to, and really kind of Paul to take the time to write this amazing critique. Hope the reintroduction to real life is being kind to all my fellow Springers X

#5 angelfan

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:47 AM

I'm going to see the One Academy production at the Edinburgh Fringe.  Didn't get a chance to see the show in London but I want to see it so much I'm going for an amateur production (although it's connected to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama which has produced actors who've gone on to professional careers).
Give Yourself Over To Absolute Pleasure

#6 Guest_Laura Allen_*

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:53 PM

What a brilliant and kind review! Thank you so much, its so rewarding to finish a show and get such wonderful comments from the audience.  It's lovely that everyone got a mention!  
Such a privilege to be part of this fabulous show and its cast smile.gif x

#7 Guest_Gary Marshall_*

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:06 PM

My wife and I were blown away by this show, and not just because Greg was in it. Everything about it was quality and I agree with PaulT, there was nothing amateur about it. The entire cast were wonderful and really delivered the goods. As for the vocal arrangements they were splendid, no, BRILLIANT!
It's a shame it didn't have a longer run, I have loved to have seen it several times.
Congratulations to everyone involved, it was superb!

#8 DanielWhit

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:43 PM

Shame I never got to see it - I had pencilled myself in for Friday but in the end times just didn't work out.

#9 PaulT

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 03:45 PM

We booked for Friday night and then got stuck in traffic on the M25.  The Sat Nav. first said that the journey was 40 minutes from Chertsey to Barnet (when it updated it was going to take nearly TWO hours) so we were going to be late sad.gif .  We arrived during 'Bitch' and had to sit right at the very back.
Within 2 minutes I was into the show and had forgotten all about the terrible journey.  Thankful we were in good time to she the whole of the show from the stage seats on the Saturday night.
I was telling Evie Hoskins last night (Evie was Thea in the Westend production and we were seeing Lucy may barker {Ilsa} in 'Earthqauke in London') how the cast had really 'got' the show.  It was so full of energy and so well produced/choreographed.
I am not sure about a 'Brilliant and kind review'!  I only wrote the truth about what I saw! tongue.gif

#10 musicalmadness

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 04:03 PM

I saw this production as it was in the home of the school i attend, The Susi Earnshaw Theatre School, in the Bull Theatre (which btw, is amazing! tongue.gif) But yes, PaulT i cannot agree any more with the whole review, you just managed to capture every single aspect of this utterly perfect production, I am so glad I saw it, I only saw it once in the West End, but that whole production could have easily been put into the Novello one night, and I seriously wouldn't have noticed the difference. I sincerely hope this gets some sort of "revival" somewhere, as everyone I know needs, ney, MUST see this production!! I knew one of the swings, James Yank, and I know that the production was filmed....could any of the cast find out whether this could go on "sale" to public who saw the show...or is it strictly for cast members only?? If I could have a copy of it, I would LOVE it haha!!

Anyway, congratulations to every single person involved, you were all phenomenal and good luck to whatever you all go onto do! =D
Somebody crowd me with love, somebody force me to care.
Somebody make me come through, I'll always be there as frightened as you of being alive.




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