By Peter Maddern
Unlike most musicals there isn’t much uplifting about Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s theatrical success from around 15 years ago. Yet, in an era where teenage angst has reached troublesome levels its messages are important.
Hayley Horton’s version places the action in the not too distant future and viewers may question how well that works but the content, Hayley Horton’s set plus the excellent ever developing and evolving rear screen visuals by Abtage Studios keep this lively production rolling along.
The main roles belong to ‘the boys and girls’ with Mitchell Smith a stand-out performance as Melchior Gabor. Whether singing solo or indulging in pleasures of the flesh he sustains a composure and confidence that proves infectious. His partner in pleasure and crime is Millicent Sarre, who as Wendia Bergman captures with ease her transition from a naïve girl into a fully flowered woman. Together they make a convincing and eminently watchable team.
Also of note were the strong voice and poise of Jemma Allen as Ilse Neumann and the too little seen Zac Moore as Hanschen – a name to watch out for.
Maybe resources permit it where others can’t but the Hills Musical Company always seem to be ready to take risks with their productions and again Spring Awakening possessed elements that separate their productions from many other musical troupes.
As mentioned whether bringing the action into the 2020s as distinct from its originally scripted late 19th century setting works is for debate. The additional problems teenagers face today, principally through the use and presence of smart phones, perhaps date those depicted in this production. Perhaps Messrs Sater and Sheik need to update their work.
Whatever, this is another thoroughly enjoyable HMC production featuring some excellent up and coming talent well supported by the strong HMC team led by Musical Director Mark DeLaine.
Kryztoff Rating 3.5K