13 - The Musical

Music and lyrics Jason Robert Brown Book Dan Elish and Robert Horn

Stafford Gatehouse Youth Theatre

C Chambers Street

From 20 August 2012 to 25 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Robin Strapp

Xtract productions, the youth theatre of Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, has brought a sizzling musical show 13 - The Musical from the celebrated composer Jason Robert Brown to the Fringe. It’s a terrific rites of passage story with an explosive rock score under musical director David Easto.

12-year-old Evan Goldman, a splendid performance by Tom Slade, is about to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. As if this wasn’t stressful enough, his mother informs him that she is divorcing his father and they are moving from New York City to Appleton, a small town in Indiana.

He meets his new neighbour Patrice (Holly Musgrave) and Archie (Dan Toney) who is suffering from a degenerative disease so they don’t quite fit in with the cool kids in town.

Evan decides to invite everyone to his 13th birthday party, particularly the football stud of Dan Quayle Junior High, Brett Sampson (Scott Hill).

No high school story would be complete without a romance and Brett is in love with head cheerleader Kendra (Becky Lyle) much to the frustration of Lucy (Abbie Venables) who also has eyes for Brett.

It’s a tangled tale of relationships, teenage angst, belonging and fitting in as these teenagers come to terms with their friendships and eventually the path to adulthood.

This large, accomplished cast performs with pizzazz. They sing and dance with confidence and, as the lyrics of one of the songs says, “put one foot in front of the other”. I urge you to make your way to see this zestful show.