Skip to main content

Spring Awakening Review

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
When boys and girls come out to play in Grid Iron’s new version of Frank Wedekind’s gloriously messy look at nineteenth century adolescent angst, it’s a matter of life and death. Or at least that’s the case for serious young men Moritz and Melchior, too dumbstruck by what they read in books to fully appreciate girls like short-skirted Wendla and wild child Ilsa. Reconstituted to a Calvinist Scottish classroom, where chalk drawings of willies and bums are the only creative outlet for the kids, sex and death are everything to aspire to in Douglas Maxwell’s far funnier than expected version.

Director Ben Harrison may have located the action to a conventional theatre in this co-production with the Traverse, but Grid Iron’s site-specific hallmarks are very much in evidence in an expansively three-dimensional production. The stage’s back doors open and close on a peek-a-boo style peep show that becomes a quick fire Freudian strip cartoon awash with Rennie Mackintosh motifs and sexual symbolism aplenty.

It begins in jauntily playful Carry-On style, with Philip Pinsky’s score ushering in a swathe of over-articulate shenanigans that sets a potty-mouthed template for Skins and The Inbetweeners, except here the teenage kicks turn to suicide, rape and abortion. Beyond the juvenile need to shock, talk dirty and play rough, Wedekind’s original is suitably all over the place in a series of snapshot-size scenes that create an impressionistic feel rather than inviting sympathy. There are nevertheless fine moments from Finn den Hertog, Gavin Wright, Angela Hardie and Kirsty Stuart as the main protagonists, who skirt around each other as if at a school disco gone wrong in this most darkly stylish coming of age tragedy.

The Herald, November 4th 2010

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…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…