13! The Musical | Review
On Broadway this show by Jason Robert Brown is the only musical ever with a cast and band entirely made up of teenagers, and Adelaide Youth Theatre have done the same here. It’s the story of Evan Goldman, a Jewish boy from New York who at 13 his life takes some dramatic turns. He is preparing to celebrate coming of age with his Bar Mitzvah but his parents’ divorce finds him moving to a small town in Indiana, where he has to find his way amongst the new social mix at his new school.
It is a depiction of some of the issues teenagers face using stereotypical American high school characters, with the cool kids (football jocks and cheerleaders) vs the nerds and misfits. He and the kids at the school grapple with peer pressure, bullying and teenage angst. The young cast perform this quite complicated musical with much professionalism and gusto. There are some huge solos requiring strong vocal talent that would challenge any professional thespian, yet these young performers manage to nail them.
Directed well by Lindsay Prodea, there are two casts performing this show. We saw the opening night performance with Jerome Javier as Evan, Annabel Lane as Patrice (the social misfit that befriends Evan); Connor Olsson-Jones as Brett (the football jock); Jasmine Tuerlings as Kendra (the cheerleader); Camryn Jordans as Lucy (the conniving ‘loose’ ‘’friend”); and Jack Conroy as Archie (the boy with the terrible life threatening disease on crutches). They were supported very capably by a large cast including a “boy group” who perform a memorable ode to teenage love, and cheerleading and singing girls. There was one number danced using classroom tables and chairs where we noted one boy amongst the mainly female group – good on him! There are some wonderful energetic song and dance numbers, including some very funky Rabbis, choreographed by the talented Nina Richi. Even though we only saw one cast perform, we know from previous AYT productions that the other cast would have been just as brilliant.
Personally I’m a huge fan of closing a show on a high with a big song and dance number with all the cast showing off their talent one last time and having fun. And so I left satisfied, as it was exactly that which was served to us. Bravo!
The content is suited to families with teenagers and please be aware that there is talk of tongue kissing, scoring dates, teenage love, the use of the word ‘slut’, and some small sexual references. I felt the urge to block my just turned Miss 12’s ears a couple of times but the overall theme of the story, of being true to who you are, and knowing who your real friends are, offer a great message.
Usually the musicians of a show are hidden away in the orchestra pit. It was refreshing to see these members given stage presence to the side of the main stage in view of the audience. They deserved to be seen too. The music was performed brilliantly under the direction of Ben Francis.
This is a wonderful musical production performed with much passion by some very savvy young local talent. Go support them in the last shows this weekend at Star Theatres, 145 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Hilton. Suitable for ages 13+ (keeping in mind the content mentioned above).
For more information about this show and ticket bookings, please see the Adelaide Fringe website here.
See our posts about all things Fringe here.
Play & Go Adelaide have media access to the Adelaide Fringe 2017. All reviews are our own opinion from personal experience, unpaid and not influenced by the artist/s and/or promoter/s in any way.
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