Formed in 2018, brand new Lichfield theatre company Let Me In Productions brings the hauntingly beautiful Spring Awakening to life in the intimate, stunning surroundings of St Mary’s. The recently converted church houses a fantastic performance space and through Richard Poynton’s direction, Jessica Lambert’s choreography and lighting design from Martin Pritchard and Christopher Buckle the space is cleverly transformed for this production.
Based on the play by Frank Wedekin, this musical adaptation has a book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. Originally opening on Broadway in 2006, the play is a brutal coming-of-age story, exploring mental health, sexuality, abuse and mortality.
The brilliant 13-strong cast work tirelessly in this stylish production and although there are a number of standout performances across the night, it really is an ensemble show. Glorious harmonies make the spine tingle, with the show closing on a vocal high with The Song of Purple Summer. Poynton’s direction brought some ingenious touches. The theme of light ran through the piece, with illuminated books and costumes providing moments of sheer awe.
Hattie Rumsey plays Wendla Bergmann. Opening the show excellently with Mama Who Bore Me, her voice resonated through the room. There was also superb support from Lucy Allen as Martha Bessell and a notable vocal performance from Dominic Sterland.
Matthew Facchino delivered a nuanced performance as Hanschen Rilow, with Joseph Riley confidently leading the way as an assured Melchior Gabor.
However, Christopher Buckle’s Moritz Stiefel shone through the night. His intense, pained portrayal of this complex character was exceptional. Also with an outstanding voice, he left a lasting impression on the stage.
A couple of minor gripes, included the sound balance issues (which did iron out as the performance went on) and although slick and pacy as a piece, some of the more harrowing moments flicked by a little too fast.
That aside, with a band under the astute direction of Jack Hopkins, the music was an utter joy, coupled with the fiercely talented ensemble; the team at Let Me In Productions have created a real masterpiece.
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