Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spring Awakening
Nice Swan Theatre Company
Peoples Theatre, Newcastle
29 September 2010
Teenagers these days-they don’t know that they are born-with their growing pains and discoveries of youth/adulthood, all with enough helpful advice from all corners, enough to shake a stick at.
Imagine going through all of that but in the repressed 1890’s, ’Taboo’ in them days wasn’t the name of an alcoholic drink.
Spring Awakening is the story of such teenagers all going about their normal day to day business, but with burning issues in their heads-and in their loins.
We follow Melchior and his classmates all in an advanced state of sexual yearnings, coping with strict school and home guidance, coming to terms with the end of the semester. Moritz is really struggling and only with the help of Melchior can he get over the barricades of life and lust.
Wendla a charming young lady is going through similar emotions. When she and Melchior meet up urges of the youth take over, and change their lives forever. 

I hadn’t come across Spring Awakening in my time of theatre viewing, but I am always up for a gander at something ‘new’ and ‘exciting’. It certainly isn’t new; this play was born in the late 1800’s but was banned in Germany (its original birthplace) for over a century, but exciting it certainly is. The subject matter alone coupled with the fantastic youth theatre production has certainly put the younger element of stage play on the map. This was as exciting as it can get. Having gone through all of the emotions and feelings that were portrayed on stage you could sense the actors sitting very comfortably with what they were faced with. Not so with some of the audience, who giggled like the proverbial teenager at some of the most sensitive aspects of the show.
The play has certainly stood the test of time, only the contemporary score-by Duncan Sheik- adds perfectly to the feeling of it. The haunting Cello and the guitar work have to be heard to be believed.
Bethany Walker as Wendla and Dylan Stafford as Melchior, were stand out performers on the night, but a mighty mention must go to Thomas Whalley as Moritz, who sung and bounded around the stage, as though he was freshly released from a care institute.
There were a few sound problems, but this was only caused by the youthful exuberance of the singers and dancers thrashing and rocking the stage. 
Director (and managing director of NSTC) Ben Hunt and Producer Jamie Gray must be so delighted with their achievements. Working with such a fine bunch of talented actors must be such a joy. To see their vision delivered in such a perfect way mightn't necessarily fill the coffers, but if pride could be translated into monetary terms then they must be a hell of a lot more prosperous.
This play only highlights that the North East is awash with the most fantastic youth actors, come and see them before they are snapped up.
Spring Awakening is the must see youth production on the go at the moment, you will kick yourself if you don’t see it.

Playing from Tuesday September 28th – Saturday October 2nd. Tickets are priced at £12 for adults and £10 for students.
Michael Hunter

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