Skip to main content

Spring Awakening


Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Four stars

The facts of life come fast and hard in Andrew Panton’s expansive rendering of writer Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik’s 2006 musical reimagining of Frank Wedekind’s nineteenth century template for angst-ridden teen TV. As classroom radical Melchoir Gabor, his first love Wendla and the rest of the gang come of age with all the pains that go with it, a frighteningly familiar set of psychological scars are exposed. Sexual abuse, suicide and under-age pregnancy are all in the mix, brought to flesh and blood life by a mighty cast of 18 musical theatre students, with Ann Louise Ross and Barrie Hunter from Dundee Rep’s ensemble company playing assorted grown-ups with grotesque relish.

Played out on designer Kenneth MacLeod’s testosterone-charged gym hall set, when actors aren’t in a scene, they either sit on benches in single-sex rows like they’re at a school disco or else drape themselves across vaulting horses and desks as they lustily spy on every illicit liaison. 

While the entire ensemble gives it their all vocally and physically throughout a series of beautifully choreographed scenarios, there are stand-outs from Max Alexander-Taylor as Melchoir Gabor, Sarah Michelle Kelly as Wendla and Ross Baxter as the troubled Moritz. The score, played under musical director Robert Wilkinson’s guidance by a string-led six-piece band of music students, at times possesses the breathless baroque gallop of the Arcade Fire.

Combining his roles as artistic director of Dundee Rep and head of musical theatre at the RCS for this co-production between the two institutions, director Andrew Panton has created a rites of passage to remember. As the entire cast look out during the show’s final moments, their innocence transformed into bittersweet experience, it’s as if they’re climbing ever higher, ready at last to take the leap for life itself.

The Herald, March 16th 2018

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…