LUST Spring Awakening: A Review
Spring Awakening: the musical is based on the 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind, reimagined by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater. Set in the Victorian era, the play follows a group of teenagers going through the trials and tribulations of growing up and rebelling against a society that represses them at every opportunity. With sexual content, and references to suicide and physical sexual abuse the play touches on many sensitive topics.
Overall Liverpool University Student Theatre (LUST) delivered a dynamic, engaging and sophisticated performance. Utilising a low platform in front of the stage the cast were just above eye level of the seated audience. The cast moved across the plinth, onto the larger stage for maximum use of space and differentiating height levels for certain emphasis during scenes. Interestingly, when they were not acting on stage they came and sat amongst the audience. At first this was a little unexpected but worked with remarkable ease and effectiveness, bringing the audience into the play.
What gave the play great life and force was the live band playing the musical numbers in which the cast sang. The band provided an atmosphere and element that became crucial to the fluidity and sophistication of the play. Spring Awakening is a play which requires maturity, an open mind and no inhibitions. The cast executed these requirements well to make the play both a serious piece of work dappled with funny anecdotes and characters, especially Fräulein Knuppeldick who was executed to perfection.
My only reservation with the play itself was the approach to the physical sexual abuse that character Martha Bessell experienced by her father. Whether this was a decision made by LUST, Sheik and Sater or even Wedekind is unclear having only watched this performance. Despite this the cast and directing team dealt with the more traumatic topics well.
As for the musical numbers LUST has some incredibly talented singers and performers. The most memorable performances were by the actresses who played Wendla Bergmann and Ilse Neumann. However all the cast are talented singers and performers. The cast was fairly condensed but all characters were executed with finesse and emotion lending the performances in bigger groups entertaining and moving, where each character included small touches of their characters personality well.
LUST presented a great production, it was as entertaining as it was moving, captivating from start to finish. The group of students both on stage and backstage offered well executed and entertaining performances. If you get the chance to go and watch a performance by LUST in the future, I would recommend it, it was a lovely way to spend a Thursday evening.
Unfortunately, the run of Spring Awakening has now ended, but you can find out about the upcoming events and opportunities LUST have here.