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Review - Spring Awakening: another smash hit by Millennial Productions

By Liv Wilson

Spring Awakening

Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater

Music By Duncan Sheik

Based on the original play by Frank Wedekind

Director Taylor Andrews

Musical Direction Eliza De Castro

Choreography Lauren Bensted

Season Run: 20th January - 29th January. Bookings:

Ron Hurley Theatre- Seven Hills

Spring Awakening is a celebration of rebellion, teenage self-discovery and coming of age anxiety in a powerful rock musical. Set in 1890 provincial Germany, we meet students whose struggle to reconcile their budding sexual feelings and the moral code of their society leads them to tragedy.

They say that a cast is as strong as its weakest performer but that rule doesn’t apply to Millennial Productions’ Spring Awakening because every single performer on stage is as strong as the next. This company only knows how to do great theatre, it’s in the DNA of the cast, crew, directors and it’s such a treat for the local community to witness.

Time and time again Millennial Productions blows audiences away with the standard of work they produce. This production of Spring Awakening was devastatingly brilliant. This is extraordinary theatre and very well worth seeing before it sells out.

Taylor Andrews’ direction, Lauren Bensted’s choreography and Eliza De Castro’s vocal direction have set the bar higher for independent musical theatre.

The most notable thing to mention is the genuine ensemble aspect of this musical. Unlike most productions, each performer at one time or another has a featured moment.

The script, character arcs and musical tracks mean that a high quality group of performers are needed to pull off such a show, Millennial Productions gave us that.

Leading the pack is Nykita O’Keefe as Wendla Bergman, famously portrayed by Lea Michelle in the original Broadway musical. O’Keefe blew me away with her delicate acting and moving vocals. She was able to embody the vulnerability and edge that her character battles with throughout the show. O’Keefe gave a masterclass in realism performance with her ability to physicalise the internal struggle her character experiences time and time again.

Damien Quick as Melchior Gabor gave us the individuality and spunk of Melchior, with just the right amount of vulnerability, when it was needed. Vocally, Quick shone through the entire performance, most notably in The Bitch of Living and Totally Fucked. The connection between Quick and O’Keefe was supercharged with emotions I can’t put into words. The direction of these two performers as well as their individual excellence on the stage was such a joy to witness.

A great element of the show was the movement, led by Bendsted. The recurring themes and motifs were weaved into scenes naturally and paid homage to all the classic Spring Awakening movements with a twist of originality.

Playing Mortiz Steifel was AJ Betts who takes the audience on a journey through the turbulent emotions and anguish of the young boy. Betts is a genuine performer and in my eyes was the standout of the entire show.

The emotional, vocal and physical range of Betts is beyond their years; at 21 years old I am in awe of the commitment and scope of emotions conveyed through the show. Don’t Do Sadness and The Bitch of Living were two of the best moments of the show and I believe that Betts’ had a strong hand in why.

Vocally, the ensemble was out of this world. With an ensemble of 18 I was impressed with the strength and presence they generated in the small theatre. On a technical level the vocals were A+, with smooth harmonies, well-rehearsed accents (often with German influence) and cohesive ensemble wide vowel placement- what more could you ask for? Well done to Eliza De Castro on another stellar MD credit.

The simple, yet thoughtful set was designed perfectly for the space and aided in the storytelling. It added mood, created tension and helped put the audience right there with the characters. A great set by the set design and construction team.

Kaitlin Evans, Liv Hutchins, Rae Rose and Jackson Hughsman were top of their game during this show both vocally and theatrically. I am mentioning these performers individually as they had more featured time compared to other characters. They were consistently ‘on’ all night which is something I don’t doubt is hard to do in such a vocally and emotionally demanding production.

I highly encourage you to secure your seats now before the short season sells out!

Important: This show portrays sexual situations, explicit language, scenes depicting violence and suicide as well as sexual violence that may be confronting or unsettling to viewers. The theatre company suggests the show is suitable for ages 15+, however I would encourage you to research the show before making the decision with younger audience members.


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