Based on the famous play, the musical Spring Awakening has been revived time and time again and there is no doubt why. The coming of age story that never gets old, the show is almost a write of passage for any musical theatre performer, and the young company from PTP’s charming production visited this years Edinburgh Fringe.
Directed by Benjamin Newsome and Megan Crawley the show has a new breath of life by the use of two benches either side of the space so that on the whole the company never exits. The wooden tree at the back creates a suitable atmosphere to explore the themes of the show, growth, family, the community you come from and a reflection on the season – the spring awakening. Some particularly good moments in the show were the use of the benches to turn into a church in the climactic end of Act One. “I Believe” became a haunting hymn, rather than underscoring for a scene, which was extremely powerful. Yet also, it is one of the funniest interpretations I have seen, really grasping the teenage banter within the text that makes the piece lighter in moments where it needs it and helps us warm to the characters easier.
One thing to note is that it is not technically a ‘professional’ company. That is not to justify or excuse the production in any way, but to praise them. Stephen Johnson’s Moritz explores the preciously mentioned comedic element with a real innocence. He plays across from Tom Chippendale the honest and mature Melchior well and their friendship on stage is lovely to watch. Also standing out is Elsie Carman’s sweet and yet intelligent portrayal of Wendla, Deanna Lashbrook complex Martha and James Mateo-Salt’s beautifully sung and equally hilariously executed portrayal of Hanschen.
The cast play the innocent and yet energetic characters really well, and I would not be surprised if we see some of these young faces reappearing to the stage very soon.
Reviewed by Kara Taylor Alberts