Believe the hype; Spring Awakening is a youthful tonic for young and old, making no apologies for being angst ridden, volatile and touching all at the same time, just like its teenage characters. The musical is deftly punctuated by catchy rock ditties and ballads to convey pivitol moments, the youths expressing through song what they daren’t utter in conversation, with power and humour.
For a play so steeped in controversy, it’s hard to believe one could come away so invigorated. This is in part due to the verve and energy of the cast, but also a skilled adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s orginal 1891 play which was initially banned in Germany and not performed in English for nealy a 100 years thereafter, due to its (then) shocked reception.
The themes of repression, sexual abuse, abortion and suicide were adapted by Duncan Sheik (music) and Steven Sater (Book & Lyrics) for Broadway, directed by Michael Mayer, and became an instant success back in 2006. Now transferring to London’s West End as part of a world-wide tour, the musical, which has a mostly all British cast, with several of the leads making their professional debut, deserves plaudits for the impressive performances and relatability for a 21st century audience.
Spring Awakening is booking at the Novello Theatre until Saturday 31 October 2009.