Chance Productions in association with Renegade Arts Company
Dates and Venue 30 April - 17 May 2014, Wed-Sat at 8pm | Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery Street
Reviewer Roger Wayne Eberle
Awakening is a sure-fire delight for those who enjoy watching sensuality
embodied and portrayed by burgeoning relationships of the young, but
it is also an energetically defiant flower of adolescence blooming to
blight the face of imperious fiats dictated through autocratic social
forms like parochial parenthood, stultifying schooling or reductive
Director Ryan Mooney has assembled another amazingly alacritous troupe of actors, and his light touch is evident perhaps most clearly in the subtle transitions that bookend the languid lines of movement within each nimbly evoked number as string by string, the orchestral sweep of the piece pulls inexorably towards the climax leading to intermission—a climax that is both literal and figurative; and managed with great finesse to remain within the borders of good taste.
Choreographer Anna Kuman merits high praise for how well she is able to present piece after polished piece that appears so natural that it seems at once unrehearsed and as twice as harmonized with the musicality of movement ably presented by Clare Wyatt’s outstanding orchestra; and three times a lithesome lady she is, indeed, for there is not a false move in the piece.
Sarah Smith brings Wendla to life with an understated softness tendered with precision and poise. Chris Carson manages to merge tact and charm in a chameleon kind of conformity designed to mask the resolute rebel that is Melchior. By the end of the run, he may well rise to the challenge of making his audience identify fully with his defiant “Yes!” of a reply to the autocratic schoolmaster’s inquisition about whether or not he wrote the sacrilegious credo. It’s getting to that “Yes!” that proves to be so much fun! (What a fulsome number to see).
Although space does not allow for an exhaustive analysis, all these young actors deserve high praise. Missing out on this performance would be a shame.
Spring Awakening is much more than a simple coming-of-age story.
In grappling with so many vital themes it not only questions authority
in many forms, but it also pushes back against the autocratic abuse
of that authority. Ultimately, it raises significant issues about the
effects of such abuse, and this production of the play presents these
issues in highly creative, truly sympathetic, and exceptionally original
© 2014 Roger Wayne Eberle