“13 -The Musical” by Erewash Musical Society Youth Group.
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
Following a move from New York City to small-town Indiana, Evan Goldman grapples with his parents' divorce, prepares for his impending Bar Mitzvah, and navigates the complicated social circles of a new school and preparing for turning into a teenager. He moves to a new town, Appleton in Indiana with his mother and starts a new school. He’s trying to fit in and make new friends and he feels that by throwing a party for his 13th Birthday, if he can get the cool kids, and especially Brett Sampson, to attend, it might just make him “cool” and accepted.
The soundtrack is written by Jason Robert-Brown, who has written some wonderful works for the theatre; pieces like “Parade” and “The Last 5 Years” but this is aimed at a completely different audience and the story is one that we can all empathise with as we’ve all been there. Fitting in, making friends, being different, discovering girls and doing “The Tongue”.
Can I first state that this is one of my favourite adolescent musicals, and there aren't too many musicals written for actors of this age to play
Erewash Musical Society Youth group are good and this musical shows just how good they are. I've seen a few of their past musicals and every time they have exceeded the last and this is no exception.
A large cast who work so well in ensemble pieces and the leads are so confident and watchable which make them completely believable.
Evan is played by Ethan Lee. I've seen Ethan a few times but he is just so good in this role. His confidence and singing stands out and this role isn't that easy as the musical is practically non stop music. He is a likeable actor with a really good voice for musical theatre.
The EMUS are blessed with some very good singers and Emily Bridge, Patrice, who is Evans friend when he first moves to Appleton owns one of them.
As does Jorja Foster, who plays Lucy, Kendra's "best" friend. Her voice is so mature and she doesn't need a microphone to get her voice yo the back of the theatre. Lovely characterisation as well.
Kendra, the girl they all want to give "the tongue" to is played by Rebecca Groombridge, another fine young actor to watch out for.
Brett, the most popular boy in school, is played by Kai Cox. Again totally believable and we all know what it's like to be at this stage of the character's life; all those hormones!!
Brett's right (and left) hand men are Eddie and Malcolm, played by Tom Judson and Charlie Pierson. Great fun to watch right from the start with their "chat up" song and dance piece "Hey Kendra".
My favourite character in this musical has always been Archie. Archie is the boy who is disabled with muscular dystrophy and is an outcast, but he has some of the best comic lines. He uses his disability to get his way and at times some of the audience were not sure if they should be laughing at him. We're not laughing at him though, we're laughing with him. A wonderful part and Gabryl Oleshko is excellent as Archie. He has a really good singing voice and in a few years time Gabryl is going to have a very rosy future in theatre if he wants it, especially in comic roles.
There's a wonderfully choreographed piece (Katy McLaughlin) which involves the cheerleaders, Eliza Charnock, Daya Khosse and Sophie Robbins.
Technical wise, this show was almost perfect. there were a few sound issues, but with that amount of cast on stage, it's going to be an issue unless all actors are mic'd up. I only notices a couple of times where the spots weren't on who they should be, but this is first night and can be forgiven.As usual, a great job done by Dave Martin and Ben Tennett, enhancing what is an already wonderful piece of theatre.
The orchestra was, as I've come to expect from this group,were excellent. Under the musical direction of Dave Dallard the band consisting of Sam Griffiths (who can be heard in just about every musical from the last few years until forever and a day - he is so amazingly busy) on piano, Tim Wright and Chris Renshaw on guitars, Jeff Widdowson on bass and Jack Helan on drums.
Stage management were really on it in this musical and everything was fast paced and everyone was where they should have been.
Produced and directed by Alysha Gomes, this is another big hit for her and her team.
I've always found the EMUS team to be amazingly passionate and hard working in all that they do and this show just enforces this fact. They are also incredibly friendly and nice folk.
"13 - The Musical" is a grown up story about growing up with a brilliant rock soundtrack, which also uses many styles of musical genres which the cast and band showed to be equally comfortable with.
“13 – The Musical” is at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 4 February 2017 and is well worth taking the whole family to.