Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spring Awakening: A Review

First, I'd like this to be a cautionary tale to all young, technology-loving travelers: if you choose to bring three apparatuses for picture-taking along on your trip, try ever so much to remember at least one of them when you go places...! Cameras left at your accommodations will be of no service to you when you are out on the town doing things that need visual documentation! That is why Shug and I only have iPhone pics to commemorate our action-packed trip to Denver...Live and learn, kids. Live and learn.

With that bit of business out of the way, let's get on to Spring Awakening! All of the horrors that keep young folk away from musicals were pleasantly absent from this show...While the cast was breaking into song every other line, the music was really, really, good! I think we have Duncan Sheik to thank for that since he wrote all of the music for this adaptation of a German play written in 1891. I found myself thinking I'd like to listen to this music outside of the theater...but, well it's WHAT these crazy kids were singing about that prolly means I won't be blasting it in my car with the windows rolled down anytime soon.

These songs were all about S-E-X. The whole spectrum of sexual interaction was explored: from damaging and sad (incest) to comical and uncomfortable (masturbation) to enlightening and loving (losing their virginity). There was also some sadomasochism, a gay relationship, and an abortion thrown in for good measure. Dude, I KNOW.

There were only a few times I was a little uncomfortable with the subject material, one being only the second or third song into the performance. The masturbation scene left practically nothing to the imagination, I mean, homeboy was singing and moving to the beat of the song in his pajamas...and as the "crescendo" neared the entire audience seemed to be covering their faces with their hands. I didn't really know what we were in for...

Thankfully, nothing really got more visually explicit than that...The songs tried to explore the turmoil and change the characters were going through, but with SO much to cover in subject material, there wasn't really much time left over for character development or a storyline.

The set design and the lighting were probably my favorite aspects of the show. I wish the picture above did it more justice, but the warm lighting and eclectic mix of old and new pieces added to the theme of the show - the clash of antiquated ideals with new and fresh perspectives.

Seeing that the last musical I attended was close to twenty years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance and that also doesn't give me much room to criticize a successful show...But just like my dad said to me after the show, "I'm always the critic..."

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