Review: Spring Awakening, Lyric Hammersmith

Spring Awakening comes to London from a successful run on Broadway, where it won 8 Tony awards and had great word-of-mouth buzz, several State-side friends had recommended it to me, saying if I loved Avenue Q, I would love this. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be the case, after hacking through the snow to Hammersmith.

Crucially for a musical, the tunes just aren’t memorable, and there didn’t seem to be the magical connection between the music and the lyrics necessary for this score to engage once the curtain had come down. If anything, it almost tries too hard, as exemplified by the song Totally F*****: the play seems so pleased with itself at this “shocking” material and yet it seems almost quaint that the over-use of an expletive is considered to be cutting-edge.

This was not the prevailing attitude in the auditorium as many people gave this song a standing ovation, much to my surprise. Elsewhere, I had real issues discerning much of the lyrics in some songs, nor did I particularly want to know, due to the rock musical stylings which felt quite dated.

None of this is to take away from the achievements of the cast, almost all of whom are making their stage debuts, and the imminent transfer to the West End should see their stars rise accordingly. I just hope they pick a better show(with much less soft rock in it) next time!

Photo: Tristram Kenton

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