Spring Awakening: A Reimagining

Not the 2006 Broadway musical, but the 1981 play on which that was based, Spring Awakening is notable for its controversies upon original publication. Censored for many years, it dealt with sex, abortion, suicide and homosexuality.

A good shot, but the interpretation suffers from the cuts and clunky dialogue that can’t match the talent of Wedekind.

Updated for a more contemporary age where teenagers are more familiar with 50 Shades Of Grey than the appropriate length of a lady’s skirt, Milo Morris’s reworking of Frank Wedekind’s play follows Moritz, Melchior and Wendla as they traverse the minefield of adolescence. Moritz is suicidal because he thinks he’s going to fail his exams and Melchior & Wendla appear to have developed a BDSM relationship. Teenagers do grow up fast, but I guess that was Wedekind’s point.

There are elements of Wedekind’s play here, but none of the subtlety. Shoehorning the whole thing into a mere 45 minutes strips the original three-act play so aggressively that characters are left without any depth; and with the subject matter at hand it’s this motivation that we really need to see developed.

The homosexual relationship remains, albeit switched genders to Lesbians, but curiously abortion – a pivotal moment in the 1891 play – is gone. Moritz’s suicidal darkness appears as a masked figure with a large yellow beak, and this, perhaps, is a gimmick too far.

Mixtape give contemporising Spring Awakening a good shot, and they should be applauded for the attempt at such young years themselves; but the interpretation suffers from the cuts and clunky dialogue that can’t match the talent of Wedekind.

Reviews by Joshua Hepple

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The Blurb

Disenchanted teenagers. Repressed sexuality. A new play inspired by Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening makes the controversial classic relevant to the modern age. Written and performed by an independent young company, this performance hopes to seize the age-old tale of sexual awakening with new vibrancy. In times when young people's voices seem unheard and increasingly overlooked, Spring Awakening examines the hard-hitting issues faced by adolescents in the UK today; mirroring those faced by the young people in Germany over 100 years ago.

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