Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's always Spring Awakening

I am forced to stay alone in New York this weekend. Forced by a flu that won't quit (it's been 6 weeks now) and doctor's orders not to fly. So apart from a little harmless clothes shopping I decided my indulgence would be to go and see Spring Awakening again.

I like Spring Awakening in the way I liked the original Rocky Horror Picture Show - rule breaking with fantastic music - and that was a long time ago. I saw Rocky Horror seven times on the King's Road in London back in 1976-7. This was long before it was famous, long before the movie was made. The production was in the King's Road Theatre which was scheduled for demolition and the cast spent as much time on scaffolding on the sides of the theatre as they did on stage. Their groundbreaking performance rocked convention, broke rules and led to the movie legend.

I see the same potential in Spring Awakening. As the New York Times says "It is also exhilarating. When was the last time you felt a frisson of surprise and excitement at something that happened in a new musical? For that matter, when was the last time something new happened in a new musical?"

Or as New York magazine says "The new indie-rock treatment of Frank Wedekind’s play about hormonal adolescents has just about everything going for it. The score is exciting, the performers gifted and attractive, and there’s every reason to hope the show will be around long enough that casting directors will need replacements when early middle age claims this bunch. "

Like Rocky Horror, Spring Awakening deals with the subject matter about sexual awakening - this time in teens - and is again breaking rules both in staging, music and it's treatment of the many faces of the emergence of teen sexuality. It combines the story from the frequently banned 1891 play with vibrant, haunting rock music, sung with total conviction and passion by the cast. In contrast to Rocky Horror, this time I see the subject matter through adult eyes, but the first time I saw the new musical I had two 15 year olds with me so I got both impressions - adult and teenager at the same time which was fascinating.

If you like to be moved, transported back to your youth and rocked at the same time this is the musical to see.

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