Seven children are pushed into a world where they fumble their way towards adulthood. Moritz and Thea are worried about their academic records. Wendla wants to know where babies come from. Martha’s not sure if her homelife is normal. Melchior has a lot of questions. Hänschen is trying to keep his head down. Ilse just wants to get out. Will they all survive their time between child and adult?

First performed in 1906 and written about 15 years earlier this is still a brutal exploration of adolescence and the struggles of growing up. The cast – Riley Brophy, Tom Clarke, Josh Cramond, Karin McCracken, Fran Olds, Brynley Stent, Acushla-Tara Sutton – are uniformly excellent with every one shining at some point during the play. Stand-out performances by Stent and Brophy illustrate the tensions between naivety and the desire for experience, between the struggle to live up to parental expectations and the perils of ignorance. I also enjoyed Olds and Sutton as visiting adults who appear as if coming from some intrepid adventure. Directors Samuel Phillips and Keagan Carr Fransch have navigated difficult emotional material sensitively and without reducing any of the impact. Their use of metaphor and suggestion is superbly supported by Sound Designer Oliver Devlin, Lighting Designer Janis Cheng, and Set and Costume Designer Lucas Neal (with Costume Consultant Harriet Denby.)

Excellent and well worth using your 2-for-1 Wellington Advent Calendar voucher on.

  • Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, directed by Samuel Phillips & Keagan Carr Fransch at BATS Theatre to 6 February 2016

Content warning: the production contains challenging themes of abuse, sexual abuse and suicide. If you’d like to talk to someone about any of the themes in the show contact details for organisations are included in the programme.