Spring Awakening is part of One Academy Productions’ Emergence Series at The Pleasance, showcasing graduating students from RSAMD. The musical itself is making its debut in Scotland after becoming a cult hit on Broadway and in the West End. Inspired by Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, the musical explores the sexual awakening of three friends – rebellious student Melchior, his conflicted friend Moritz and Wendla, an example of pure feminine innocence. The source material is interesting, despite the exploration of religion, guilt and shame being somewhat outdated and clichéd. Obviously this is a popular musical (one girl in front of me sang along with every word) but the songs themselves are the only stars of this average production.
It is unclear why a Scottish drama company would think it is necessary for a play set in Germany to be sung and spoken with American accents, especially considering no one on stage has actually mastered them. The cast themselves fight admirably against a number of technical sound problems but no one can hide from missed notes and a distinct lack of chemistry between the central love pairing. Screeching and shouting replace emotion and the simulated sex scenes are hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The songs themselves are fun but they are clumsily segmented into the action. As you watch the show you can’t help but wish you were seeing a more professional and ambitious interpretation of the material. Only during the big numbers, when all the cast sing together, does this production actually begin to hit the right notes. Passable am dram, but expect nothing better.
Pleasance Courtyard, 4-30 Aug (not 18-19, 25), 3.05pm