Friday, August 6, 2010

Spring Awakening 5* review from Broadway Baby

Spring Awakening
5* rating

Review by James Harding - Broadway Baby

The Summer Purple
August 06, 2010

"This musical is about adolescent sex. Onstage.

Spring Awakening follows a group of teenagers struggling to cope with the clandestine world of sex in conservative 19th-century Germany, and doesn’t pull its punches - the original Frank Wedekind play was banned in Germany for its explicit subject matter. There is a risk in modern versions of shows famous for their once-shocking subject matter of relying simply on their scandal value to make the production buzz, but this production has a more mature take on the play leaving room for the actors and audience to explore the issues beyond the historical context of the show.

I should tell you that the hype around Spring Awakening is huge. The heavily-adapted musical version has been a cult hit amongst musical-theatre fans across America and the UK and I know of at least six student productions coming up in the new year. If you can’t sing The Days of Purple Summer then you just aren’t in musical theatre. Many companies were disappointed not to get the rights for the fringe production - or at least, they will be until they see how wonderful this one is!

The imaginative and effective blocking relies heavily on the whole cast working together and at times watching the show is like watching the insides of a complex and beautiful machine. The company exude a wonderful ensemble attitude in their interpretation, their hours spent together on the RSAMD MA programme enabling powerful acting and stunning movement during the big numbers. The superb leads Helen Hart and Andrew Keay rightfully command most of the audience’s attention, although the humorous buffooning of Seth Leiber and the ever-present characterisation of Kristopher Bosch make them stand out from the ensemble. This young cast bring a mature note to the show everyone is talking about."

Into the rafters and a slight restage

Production: Closest to the Moon
Show Week 1
by Melanie Bell

Hi there all Closest to the Moon fans! Just wanted to add a quick update. We had our tech yesterday after a long day of Spring teching and it was our first chance to see and sing in the space. It's very intimate, and I think in a way it's good as all audience members will be up close and personal and probably be able to feel our breathing, so I suppose that is an experience in and of itself. And there is less chance words and lyrics will be hard to hear.

We did have to do a little re-staging, as is always the case when getting into a new venue, to accommodate the amount of people on stage. Have to say though, some of the physical work we are doing which might have looked sparse in a huge space totally overcomes this venue and Gram is literally in the rafters. So that should hopefully be impressive. We also added a little more to the "Broadway show nightmare" number, choreography wise and it's sure to be exciting. Anyhow, really looking forward to an audience's reaction later this week. It's at the point where we are madly in love with it and just want to see how others respond. Hope to see you there

In Touch with Edinburgh audiences

Production: In Touch
Show Week 1
by Rachel Middle (Alice)

So we've had our first preview! We performed in front if a reasonably sized audience on the 5th, and thus, the world premiere of "in touch" has taken place. They seemed to enjoy the funny bits, like the "poke" song, and the opening, but we also heard good feedback about the more serious storyline between Eamonn and Mairin as well. Jamie and Paul were very pleased because they said before that they find it difficult being the serious characters among so many comedic ones. As it turns out, one of Paul's scenes at the end was very funny and we struggled not to laugh on stage, another of those moments is where Tony (played by Byron) says the word "poles". You wouldn't believe that could be hilarious, but my god it is!

The venue itself is small, but perfect for what we want to do, it's just big enough to fit in our dances which were choreographed by Andrew Panton. A lot of the dances are really just sequences of avatar-like movements, but when we do them altogether I imagine they must look pretty impressive. What a shame it is that we will never be able to watch ourselves!

A week ago, when Candice realised that we were opening in a week, she burst into helpless laughter for about 10 minutes, but I think we have managed to pull it off. How about you all come along and see for yourselves!?
Pleasance Dome 12.10pm

Sunday, August 1, 2010

'Spring'ing into Action in Edinburgh

Production: Spring Awakening
Final Rehearsal Week
by Helen Hart (Wendla

Soooooo.... This is it!!!! We have finished the rehearsal process! It has come around so quickly and I think it is fair to say that we are all scared stiff! We had the busiest and most tiring week yet but it was incredible.

We had a zitzprobe (which basically means you run all the songs with the band for the first time) which was really exciting and hearing the full band really added something to each number. We also had our dress rehearsals and seeing all the costumes was amazing and we all look so young!

In one particular dress rehearsal I failed to come onstage for a scene with the girls... I was putting rubber on my bum (don't ask!) and missed my cue! Luckily the girls covered and I think it's safe to say that it won't happen again as I am now very paranoid!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Edinburgh Springs 'Awake'

Production: All of them!
Rehearsal Wk 4
by Susie Dumbreck (Company Manager)

Sitting in a cafe in a very wet Edinburgh. Have seen production trucks, scaffolding, Lampies, Noise boys (and girls) and a copious amount of multipocketed shorts and steel toe capped boots roaming around outside the major venues as the fit up for the fringe well and truly gets underway.

Those who know and love the Edinburgh Fringe will know that very soon Edinburgh becomes a heaving mass of artistic talent which sings, dances, plays, laughs, crys its way into the city. Every available flat in the town becomes an artistic haven for those performers who are lucky enough to get the chance to come here. Alongside this we have the dedicated fringe going public - who are what really make this festival one of the most special in the world.

So it's with great joy that I see the large 33 sign go up outside The Pleasance, the home of RSAMD's Spring Awakening offer this year and where the courtyard will soon be filled with the chatter, excitement and of course queues of performance going public (oh and lots of lager/cider swigging in the bar).

Those who are swithering over whether to come to Edinburgh this year - DO IT - the programme really is fantastic. Make sure you get along to RSAMD shows. Follow us on twitter @RSAMD_Fringe.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Casting ... and underwear!

Production: Spring Awakening
Rehearsal Wk 3
by Helen Hart (Wendla)

So we finally find out our 2 casting groups today! (for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, we are double cast for the show and today we found out which of us are in each cast & who we will be working with.) This is great to know as it allows us to start forming bonds with our scene partners and it allows us to take our work to the next level. I think there were some suprises in there but I'm glad we can get started on creating a dynamic with our own cast and developing it as a group.

The show is getting closer and I think it would be fair to say we are all nervous about how soon we open! But I have faith that we can pull off a great show (come and see it please.) Costume fitting today was hilarious, Carly & myself (Car is also playing Wendla) had alot of fun trying to fit into the tiny underwear they want us to wear! They accidently asked me to try on a bra that was 3 sizes too small, I think I gave the wardrobe department a bit of a shock when I came out of the changing room! haha!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Poking, a-GORA-phobia & Leeroy Jenkins!

Production: In Touch
Rehearsal Wk2
by Michael John Griesen (Friend)

Today we went over David’s ‘Birthday Poke’ in more detail, which was necessary as a couple of people that were not singing in it before now are. Seth was still struggling with the exact rhythm of ‘po, po, po, po po poke!’ He tapped it out so enthusiastically on his music stand that he broke his pencil. We’ve made a few changes to the lyrics in “Alive” as well, one which took us a good ten minutes to get right. After a short toilet break we discussed our research that we had done in the last two days which was very interesting; we looked in detail at what ‘Friend’s’ and ‘Mairin’s’ conditions are, and Seth talked his character’s fear of the outside world.

Seth: “I think David might have a-GORA-phobia”
Ken: “Is that a bit like a-LUM-inum?”
Seth: “Yeah, scared of metal.”

The above exchange was apparently hilarious to everyone else but it went completely over my head. Byron then showed us a youtube video of a team, of what seemed to be computer geeks, planning a World of Warcraft raid, until one of the characters, who had just got back from the bathroom, ran recklessly through the doors to the monsters shouting- “LEEROY JENKINS!” (His name.) The amusement that resulted from this kept us happy all the way through lunchtime. Mikey found this particular video hilarious, and tears were streaming from his eyes for the next half hour, just at the slightest mention of this video!

Helen presented information on internet addiction and gave some examples of how it has pulled families apart. One thing that we found pretty ridiculous was that the only way you could access information about an internet addiction helpline, was ONLINE!

Candice spoke about quarantines, and gave us plenty of information on how quarantines would work and be undertaken in todays society. This was really helpful for the characters of 'In Touch' who have been affected by the 'quarantine'.

Mikey presented information on 'Locked in Syndrome' which is what his 'human character' suffers from. He read a few passages from a diary by a patient who suffers from the syndrome, and it was incredibly touching and gave a real insight.

Finally, Rachel presented her research about artificial intelligence, and the possible ramifications of unconscious beings developing consciousness.

Candice said that I fried her brain. I take that as a compliment. Ken then instructed us to get into our pairs and discuss our characters more, starting with a list of everything we knew about our characters, then developing this into making our own decisions about how we wanted to play them. To make this easier, we pretended we were on television, and we got interviewed in our pairs and had to improvise replies. All in all, it was a extremely productive day of rehearsal, and we left with a bundle of information and ideas to play with.