Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Songs For A New World - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been? 
The Bridewell Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?

A lovely little song-cycle goes a very long way when executed with such expertise; and here, this National Youth Music Theatre company was exceeding relatively high expectations from the get-go. A lot of this cast will be looking back at this production as “where it all began”.

As an entirety, there is no visible storyline that we should follow, or any aid of assisting the audience should they not fully understand. Rather, it’s a collection of songs that have the same message to portray. This piece has indeed turned out to shed hopeful and helpful light on a whole load of people: we see the struggle, pushing, sweat and pain that us more aged spectators have all felt at some point. On the flip side, it fills the youngsters with inspiration and excitement. This production presents the idea of a community coming together to support and uplift one another – it’s just lovely.

The company mastered the introductory numbers to this musical theatre experience with admirable maturity, and professionalism, to an exceedingly high quality. The almost packed, though relatively small auditorium was hence forth amazed, and was to remain so for a further ninety minutes.
            Vocalists Stewart Clarke and Charlotte Smith almost literally glow on stage – I wouldn’t be disappointed at seeing these two playing lead roles on the West End today. To stand out amongst an already exceptional bunch was a challenge indeed; but they did so, a great deal, inducing tears and awe-inspired butterflies the whole time.

The ambition within the company is crystal clear, but holding back a little at times would do some favours: subtlety is oftentimes much more welcome than an unnecessarily loud voice. Yes, it’s great to see a powerhouse every so often, but only in the right places and at the right time. The piece itself demands the subtlety that was missed on occasion; this song-cycle, that was initially a “personal little piece”, has the potential to move an audience from beginning to end if it is given the opportunity to do so. Each song came across as a personal song, as if they were just singing to themselves: making the delivery and overall receiving of the piece much more special.

Whilst the smaller audience and auditorium enhanced my personal experience significantly (and I’m sure it did the same for others), the majority of these aspiring musical theatre performers are already deserving of the epic stages and audience capacities that London’s theatreland and beyond has to offer, and the standing ovations they’re yet to soak up. 

This production has finished its run.
@nymt_songs2012 @NYMTuk

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