Review: DULOG’s ‘Spring Awakening’

By

Vibrant, powerful and poignant, DULOG’s newest production delves into the turmoil and angst of the world of adolescent sexuality with Spring Awakening. Set in 19th century Germany, the musical details the anxiety, excitement and struggles of a group of teens living under the rule of the prudish, authoritative and deeply religious adults in their lives.    

With sharp directorial focus, the production seamlessly navigates between the comedic awkwardness and excitement of teen adolescent and the sometimes tragic and deeply dark subject matter with deliberate precision and care. Incredibly impressively, the production succeeds at balancing the fine line of both being laugh-out-loud funny and gut-wrenchingly sad. Managing to carry itself with an exciting, lively vitality whilst still allowing for moments of quiet melancholy, Spring Awakening accomplishes capturing all extremities of the emotions of teen adolescence with minimal tonal whiplash.   

Underscoring Spring Awakening’s emotional exploration is an alternative rock score with folk-infused elements excellently executed by the production’s band. Helmed by the conductor Daniel Hicks, the band infuses the production with a powerful energy that is reciprocated by the cast. Excelling both in rowdy group numbers and emotive ballads, the music alone provides selling-point enough to watch this latest DULOG instalment – which naturally brings me to the cast and their singing abilities.   

Managing to carry itself with an exciting, lively vitality whilst still allowing for moments of quiet melancholy, Spring Awakening accomplishes capturing all extremities of the emotions of teen adolescence with minimal tonal whiplash

It would be impossible to overstate how impressive this production is vocally, and no exaggeration to state that every performer deserves the title of vocal powerhouse. Yet, more impressive still is how this massive mix of powerful voices blends into complex and almost hauntingly beautiful harmonies. As such, the production peaks in its big ensemble songs. Group numbers are steeped with infectious energy as the choreographed chaos of the actor’s stamping and jumping around the stage is brimming with a teen angst of the best kind. As an ensemble, there is not a single person who ever drops below the line of excellence. Despite the occasional accent sometimes becoming muddied, any imperfections are vastly overshadowed by the outstanding effort from the entire cast both in and out of the musical numbers.  Notable moments of acting excellence include Harry Allderbridge’s (Adult Male) silent portrayal of mourning and ’s (Martha) intensively emotive performance in “The Dark I Know Well”.  

Despite every actor commanding massive stage presence and each having moments to shine, standout performances include Alexandra Tyler (Wendla) who perfectly plays the naive, excitable and ever-curious youth and whose vocal performance demands absolute attention as well as Rory Maguire (Moritz) who travelled around the stage with commanding charisma as he perfectly depicts a violate teen flitting through swings of anxiety, excitement, angst and desperation. Additionally, the scenes between Damola Amusa (Ernst) and Jo Price (Hanschen) proved a particular highlight. Of course, it would be an impossible feat to highlight every great moment especially when the cast function so successful as a unit and when a lot of charm stems from the ensemble simply existing in the space and reacting to the action taking central focus.

As an ensemble, there is not a single person who ever drops below the line of excellence

The production was also technically impressive. The colourful, occasionally dramatic lightning and sharp spotlights complemented nicely the production’s sense of energy. However, I felt there was one or two moments where the sudden drastic lighting distracted from the seriousness of the scene. Additionally, there were a couple very minor technical issues with mic levelling and late lighting cues. However, these were fixed seamlessly and professionally and were a tiny blip in an otherwise technically excellent production.

Overall, if you are a fan of this musical, DULOG’s latest production is nothing short of unmissable. Outstanding in all aspects Spring Awakening boasts an ensemble of impeccable quality partnered perfectly with an exceptional band. Overall, DULOG’s Spring Awakening left me laughing, moved and excited to see what their next venture holds!

Spring Awakening is a must-watch!

Image Credit: Joyanne Chan, Regan Hunter, DULOG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.