Review: Spring Awakening, Hope Mill

Fresh faces do much to highlight the energy of Spring Awakening at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre

“You ain’t seen nothing yet – gonna teach you right”

In many ways, the teenage energy of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Spring Awakening is a great match for the youthful verve of Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre. The creative upstarts of this fringe powerhouse are maintaining its burgeoning reputation extremely well and with this raucous take on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, look set to continue.

Luke Sheppard’s production hangs on its superb casting, drawing talent fresh from drama school (Darragh Cowley and Teleri Hughes) as well as a couple of more experienced hands (Ragtime’s Seyi Omooba) And the company fill the stage with a rough-edged vitality that marks out lots of potential for musicals to come.

In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of this particular musical, its rock-tinged score not necessarily ticking my boxes. And this wasn’t the production to change my mind about that. Though Gabriella Slade’s butterfly-influenced design and Nic Farman’s lighting work make it a most appealing show to look at in this studio space.

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Scott Rylander
Spring Awakening is booking at the Hope Mill until 3rd May

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