"Sell A Door deliver a lost gem to the regions and their Spring Awakening is the perfect antidote"
Glenn Meads (Whats On Stage)
When Spring Awakening prematurely closed after six weeks in the West End, I was incredibly disappointed as I always felt it deserved to run and run. Within a glut of jukebox and movie-inspired musicals, Michael Mayer's stunning production stood out in a crowd - due its incredible performances, sweet yet shocking narrative, fantastic songs and a moving score. Sell a Door Theatre Company clearly feel the same way, as their production of this ground breaking show has many of these vital ingredients running through it - like a stick of rock - the words read 'quality.' Based on the original 1891 play by Frank Wedekind - Spring Awakening retains its place as a piece of art which is going to split audiences right down the middle. As a social drama - it focuses on the plight of a group of young people who could be modern day characters - as they face many of the problems experienced by teenagers today. Melchior is bright and opinionated and instead of conforming - he is on a voyage of self discovery. His relationship with Wendla is fraught with problems - mainly because her mother refuses to tell her the facts of life. With all the characters dressed in 19th-Century costume, the taboo topics seem even more controversial as all around these children, is innocence and repression. The show explores "the bitch of living" and it does so brilliantly. Steven Sater's beautiful book and lyrics - also has bite and an edgy quality very rarely heard in today's musicals. Duncan Sheik's music is incredibly moving and a great reason to purchase the original Broadway soundtrack which features Lea Michelle (Rachel from Glee). Jonathan Eio (Melchior) has great diction and his vocals have a silky quailty which merge into rock at just the right moments. He also moves you beyond belief with his brilliant performance. Victoria Serra(Wendla) is impressive as - vocally she is spot on. She lacks conviction though at some points - as the character goes from innocent to highly sexual, lacking the less is more approach of Charlotte Wakefield - who played the role in London. Billy Cullum's Moritz is a camp, anxious young man. This actor has great stage presence when delivering the songs but he needs to reign in the performance as it is very OTT. The supporting actors and musicans do a grand job, as this is no easy production to perform but they rise to the challenge admirably. Pete Gallagher's production lacks the energy of the West End and Broadway productions at times. During some of the high octane numbers, it is evident. But there are moments when you want the cast to let loose with more vigour and wild abandonment - as these characters are attempting to break free and we know their attempts are futile. But, minor quibbles aside - Sell a Door deliver a lost gem to the regions and their Spring Awakening is the perfect antidote to conveyor belt shows such as Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You as like Hairand Rent - it is intelligent, poignant, witty and sexy.