On the 23rd of July, La Petite Famille performed their original fresh take on the time-old coming of age story ‘Tomorrow’s Dawn’. Following characters through adolescence as they face issues relevant to the youth of today such as love, alcoholism and an insatiable passion to sing and dance at random intervals it was an evening which showcased the future stars of musical theatre.
A stark, minimalistic backdrop created a blank canvas for the singing talent to shine. However this exposure did make the problem of pronunciation more pronounced and the story at times could be hard to follow because of this. However, this was made up for by the casts enthusiasm and powerful voices: even if you couldn’t tell what they were saying it was very obvious they could hold a tune. This slight confusion caused by their strong French accents meant the physicality of the actors was increasingly important and they certainly delivered in this area with the comedic character of Boris darting around the stage so nimbly and with so much energy that he somewhat stole the show. In fact, from all cast members the energy levels and commitment they made to their characters made the intimate venue electric.
The humour they injected balanced the more bleak elements of the production such as the alcoholic father and the volatile relationship between father and daughter with the cast occasionally breaking into a soap style and adopting ridiculous charicatures, wailing and swooning over the silly subplots such as Mike cheating on Barbara with Fiona who was his step-mum. Exactly why they switched into this slightly insane parallel genre was unclear and fairly irrelevant. However, it was funny to watch them throw themselves so whole-heartedly into ludicrous melodrama and gave a moment of light relief from the struggles of the characters. The poetry writing scene was another moment of comedy with the boys attempting to compose the next Shakespearean sonnet which contained lines such as ‘you are more beautiful than Paris Hilton, I’ll take you to Paris and we’ll stay in the Hilton’. Poetry writing, song and dance, there’s nothing these youngsters can’t tackle! The solo number of the alcoholic father was not such a high point, it was hard to interpret whether it was supposed to be funny or touching, probably since any attempt at lyrics was thrown out of the window in favour of a lot of slurred mumblings.
This show was complicated and quite hard to follow; yet something about La Petite Famille’s performance worked, perhaps it was their talented vocals, their comedic physicality or maybe it was simply because you could clearly tell that this group of young people truly were a little family.