Spring Awakening

AAR-Sevenfold-Theatre-Company-Spring-AwakeningSevenfold Theatre Company’s Spring Awakening is a surprisingly safe take on the work, resulting in a production that has far too much style over substance.

With the success and fandom around the musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s work, it is refreshing to be given the opportunity to explore the core of Wedekind’s ideas and narrative structure and gain insight to an era that was rife with turmoil and social upheaval.

Zachary Dixon creates a lush and lively world for the ensemble to play in, displaying their exceptional skills as the work’s Set and Costume Designer. Sumptuous touches of camp decadence fill the space and create a lavish playground of foreboding and innocence. Dixon’s direction however, does not match the heights of their designs and leaves the work floundering to find a distinct point of view.

The ensemble of Jackson Cross, Sophie Bengough, Xi Gui Griffin, Joanna Halliday, Kyle Cuthbert, Gemma Caruana, Jonathon Shilling, Giacinta Squires, Emma Snow and Samantha Bradley all attack the work with an abundance of enthusiasm but unfortunately, many flounder to bring much needed depth and sincerity to the text.

Jackson Cross plays Melchior with endearing restraint and melancholy, making their performance a much needed buffer from Joanna Halliday’s selfishly indulgent performance as Moritz.

Emma Snow’s Wendla and Giacinta Squires’ Frau Bergmann are a delightful duo, blending comedy and tension with ease, while making what they could from the lack of excitement their scenes were given.

The ensemble as a whole struggles with the verbose text and heightened language, causing inadequate articulation techniques to be exposed and performances that fight against, rather than interrogate the text. With scenes reduced to mere vignettes, the cast is left to ping pong through the space, rather then hold any presence or gravitas.

This work’s lighting and sound designs invoke much needed life into the space – with ominous hues and deep foreboding notes, these designs go to great lengths to ensure the production avoids coming completely off the rails.

Each time an independent work is mounted and seen, it is a win for the sector and the artists that work tirelessly to keep the wheels turning, however not every work hits the mark but it is a moment to reflect, learn, regroup and elevate.

Spring Awakening
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 8A Hyde Street, Footscray
Performance: Wednesday 30 August 2023
Season continues to 2 September 2023
Bookings: www.eventbrite.com

For more information, visit: www.sevenfoldtheatrecompany.com for details.

Image: Spring Awakening – courtesy of Sevenfold Theatre Company