Spring Awakening: A Reimagining
From 14 August 2017 to 26 August 2017
Review by Robin Strapp
Frank Wedekind’s play Spring Awakening was first performed in Germany in 1906. It is a coming of age drama exploring sexual awakening and the pressures that young people faced including homosexuality, sex, violence and schooling.
It arrived in England in a censored form in 1963 and was subsequently adapted into a highly successful musical in 2006.
I was intrigued to see what Mixtape Theatre Company’s Spring Awakening: A Reimaging would create.
They are possibly the youngest independent theatre company on the Fringe and it would appear that the themes of sex and violence: sin and vice together with the pressures of exams and relationships have not really changed that much over the centuries.
17-year-old writer Milo Morris has updated the play to 2017 where Moritz is convinced he will fail his exams and wants to kill himself. He is quite distraught at what his parents will think.
Meanwhile, the wayward Ilsa is doing porn movies and the brooding Melchior is in love with Wendla who wants him to beat her. Their fight sequence is extremely violent and powerfully executed.
In this production, the homosexual love affair is now between two lesbians and is sensitively portrayed.
The introduction of the mysterious King in the Yellow was a curious decision. He observes them, almost controlling the whole story from his land of dreams or death, Carcosa.
It’s simply staged using four small black tables and the actors pack a lot into the 45 minutes running time but it leaves little time for them to develop their characters in any real depth.