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So, on Thursday (only 3 days ago, I'm catching up...), I went to see Spring Awakening.

It's a musical based on a play by Frank Wedekind. I hadn't looked much at the details beforehand, so was expecting a typical teeny romancy rights of passage type thing, so was quite impressed to find out there was a bit more to it than that (but only a bit more though).

On arrival I fell from the Balcony to the Stalls. Thankfully, this was in the ticket upgrading sense rather than the literally injury sense (the balcony certainly looked a long way up to fall from). Unfortunately, there were two of us with the tickets for the same seat as a result, but they just moved one of us forward a row.

In terms of the performance itself, it did carry messages about how we treat children in particular regarding disciplin and protectionism. Although, they were central to the story itself, it felt as if they were trying to be down played to an extent. I'm guessing these were part of Wedekind's original play and producers of the new musical were less interested in the underlying message and more wanted to use the controversial nature of the story as a promotional gimic.

The play was still based in the late 19th/early 20th century, although the music itself was more contemporary. I liked the concept of doing it like that, but somehow it did not pull it off very well and contrast was a bit jarring and needed a bit more subtly to work properly. I think a lot of this was down to the fact that although the music captured hormonalness of the teenage characters it entirely ignored the fact that the society presented in the play was very conservative. The music itself was generally cliched and unoriginal, but quite fun.

Whether it comes from the original play or whether it's just from the musical production, I'm not sure, but right through the whole play there was very little doubt as to what was coming next and as a whole it would have benefited from a little more subtlety to make it less predictable. That said, there were other things that were underplayed, such as the relationship between 2 of the male characters, which although it would have been very controversial in that society and was relevant to the underlying message, was never really integrated into the rest of the story.

Overall, it is quiet fun and worth seeing, but it has the potential for a lot more than it achieves. I'm now curious to see a production of the original play (although presumably was written in German, so I'd need to find a production translated into English to make any sense of it).

Spring Awakening is currently showing at the Novello Theatre

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