Spring Awakening

Anya Reiss after Frank Wedekind
The Courtyard West Yorkshire Playhouse

Claudia Grant (Martha), Ruby Thomas (Thea) and Aoife Duffin (Wendla Bergman)

What is it with Headlong? They take a perfectly good narrative, some excellent acting, fine directorial moments, then grotesquely over-lard the whole with whizz bang bells and whistles, video and flashing lights.

Is it lack of confidence? A belief that they are creating something spectacular? I’d like to think it is a passing phase, but it’s starting to take a long time in passing.

And in this production they add ‘run around very fast, then stand still’, like the game ‘statues’, like a workshop warm up. Mutton dressed as lamb?

Anyway, Wedekind’s play doesn’t need tarting up. It’s a hard hitting, heartbreaking, sometimes funny account of the onset of young adulthood. And it is strong enough in Anya Reiss’s rewrite to shine though the fancy production.

An energetic cast of eight play thirteen parts and clearly take pleasure in doing so. There are admirable moments of pathos and humour.

These and the overall treatment of what we now regard as teenage angst and confusion make the show well worth a visit, if you don’t mind the gimcrackery.

Reviewer: Ray Brown

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