Devonshire presents: Spring Awakening
Spring Awakening is a rock musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s controversial 19th century play of the same name. It follows the tumults of a group of naive adolescents in late nineteenth century Germany as they discover and explore their sexuality, within a strongly religious society that encourages them to confuse desire with sin.
The Devonshire Hall Music and Drama Society put on the production at the Carriageworks, accompanied by their own orchestra. The director (Oliver Myers) certainly didn’t shy away from portraying the more gritty moments of the play (of which there are a few) and the characters brazenly act out a beating, masturbation, a suicide, and a forced abortion.
The two leads, Wendla (Serena Brett) and Melchior (Lewis Elliott), give convincing performances as they play out their frustrated and morally confused desire for each other, which eventually ends in an unwanted pregnancy and fatal abortion for Wendla and a stint in a reform school for Melchior. For the Devonshire audience the tensely anticipated sex scene between the two protagonists seemed to be especially entertaining, probably because it involved seeing their hall-mates dry hump on stage. The reaction detracted somewhat from what is supposed to be a pivotal and profound moment of the play.
The highlight of the production was the portrayal of the number “Totally Fucked” in which the characters express their angst at being trapped and condemned by the systems of the society in which they live.
The actors made effective use of the stage and the number was musically and visually tightly choreographed. The scene in which Hanschen (Jonty Rigby) and Ernst (Alex Hargreaves) confess their gay love for each other and share a passionate kiss is also particularly good, with a sincere and moving performance from both actors, in spite of the mirth of the audience.
The play was well cast and entertaining and the cast and orchestra demonstrated significant talent; the university accommodation page tells no lies what it describes Devonshire as the halls for the ‘musically inclined’.