Spring Awakening, The Studio, Edinburgh, Review:
**** 4 Stars
Steven Sater’s and Duncan Sheik’s rock opera adaptation of Frank Wedekin’s play is an exploration of youth, boundaries, love and learning to discover who and what we are. Its enjoyed many productions around the world since its off-Broadway debut and has become a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe Season such is the appeal of the score and engaging storylines.
Fledgling Edinburgh Company TBC Productions return for there second year with an impassioned take on Spring Awakening in the intimate surroundings of the Studio on Potterrow and they truly succeed in their mission to showcase the best of ensemble musical theatre.
Spring Awakening is really a series of individual stories of adolescence that cross with each other at various points and director Louise Sables has delivered a thoughtful interpretation of the book shying away from getting her cast to overact the dramatic moments instead imbuing them with a stark honesty that allows every member of the ensemble to shine during there moment in the spotlight.
Special mention must go to, Fraser Shand who delivers a take on “Moritz” that for once is rooted in humanity and we all remember a real-life person in our own lives that have faced the same problem trying to please the expectations of a parent when that parent can’t see the wonderful child before them. Shand delivers it all with deft of grace and maturity that highly suits the Character. Also Shining is Kieran Hennigan as “Melchior” who brings a rawness to the role that makes him endlessly watchable. Josef Lawrence as “Ernst/Reinhold” shows his acting chops well when he falls in love with Thomas McFarlane’s “Hanschen” Lawrence’s sweet innocence in the face of McFarlane’s bravado is a charming moment to watch and shows the very heart of the Show. Sally Pugh as “Isle” has a true west end voice and truly lifts the show into the four stars especially with her opening bars of “The Songs of Purple Summer”. Finally, performance wise the biggest challenge goes to Rae Lamont and Steve Griffin as the Adult female and male respectively and both deliver a plethora of characters with great skill ensuring every one of them is individual and that’s a remarkable achievement.
Joining Louise Sables in the production team are Steven Segaud as musical director who also helms a tight 6 piece on stage band and Chanel Turner making her Choreographic debut in the UK and delivers a stylised dance element that’s totally innkeeping with Spring Awakening’s story. Laurel Hume’s excellent lighting design really takes the whole production to a new level and given the constraints of the studio makes this Spring Awakening Intimately Beautiful.
Although an amateur production this only shows through in the odd moments where the ensemble goes off pitch or let opening night nervousness take a hold as the timing goes a little astray, but they are minor quibbles that will smooth out as the show beds into its run.
TBC productions was created to showcase the power of ensemble musical theatre and that mantra is achieved during the performance of “Totally Fucked” a power house number that’s delivered in sparkling style that’s worth the cost of a ticket all on its own.
From this showing TBC productions has much to offer, long after the days of purple summer may have faded they can hold their heads high with this production of Spring Awakening so grab those tickets before it’s too late.
TBC Productions presents, “Spring Awakening”, The Studio, Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 30th June. For Tickets go to: http://capitaltheatres.com/springawakening