DISCLAIMER: Drama school productions are classed as amateur performances; but as ever, I try to treat them the same as I would professional ones as that's what the cast will be aiming to do next.
Although this is performed at a slightly bigger larger venue than their on-campus
studio - the nearby POSK Polish cultural centre - this is a chamber musical
arrangement with only four musicians, which does restrict somewhat how grungy and
unrestrained the music can feel. Overall the girls impress more than the boys: The
latter feel like the formal school attitude carries over to the songs that should be
a bit more rough around the edges. The standouts vocally are Shaw-Smith and Rhianna
McGreevy as Ilse, and the female cast members in general feel like they're
performing with a bit more abandon.
Ria Parry's production is simple but with some nice touches, particularly the end of
Act I in which the show's conflict of religion and sexuality plays out with the
company worshipping at a kind of altar that Melchior and Wendla are sexing on. I
still really enjoy the show's music, and having only recently watched the BBC's
Sound of Musicals series, it stands out how unusual it is for a show's
biggest number ("Totally Fucked") to just show up halfway through the second act.
And given that this comes from the 1891 source material, it's always striking that
in the middle of the building melodrama, the budding gay love story between Ernst
(Jack Gillett) and Hanschen (Daniel Orpwood) is the moment of positivity that breaks
Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, based on the play by Frank
Wedekind, is booking until the 22nd of February at POSK.
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.