13 the Musical at Ambassadors TheatreCultureTheatre
With a musical consisting of cast and characters no older than its title, it’s easy to create assumptions of mediocrity – a somewhat school-play experience. But that’s in no way what this production turned out to be. This coming-of-age story about finding your place has definitely achieved success at surpassing expectations.
Directed and choreographed by Ewan Jones, it’s even more “current” than the original Broadway version almost ten years ago, with plenty of “dabbing” woven into the dance numbers, and fidget spinners in the background during a classroom scene. The music and lyrics, by Jason Robert Brown, are as beautiful and witty as ever, notably with a song titled Terminal Illness acting as a play on the “sob story”.
The use of staging was simplistic but effective, with doorways wheeled on and off the stage, each labelled with a location, and a map of the small town as a backdrop. The wardrobe was equally impressive, providing a rare example of a time where characters dress their age, with casual ripped jeans and T-shirts and age-appropriate cheerleading outfits, it all added to the overall authenticity of a show about a new kid in a small town.
Vocally, highlights came in the form of the superbly talented Madeline Banbury, who shone as Patrice. Her pitch-perfect performance added extra charm to the character, particularly during The Lamest Place in the World, and her duet with Milo Panni’s Evan during If That’s What It Is was particularly stunning. Ethan Quinn’s portrayal of Archie was everything it should be: sassy, confident, and his comedic timing was impeccable.
The talent of the cast as a whole was incredible, every cast member contributed something unique to the musical, whether it be standout vocals, scene-stealing dance moves, or sheer humour, it’s hard to fathom that none of them is a professional. 13 the Musical is such good fun, filled with songs that will be stuck in your head for weeks to come. It’s musical theatre at its finest, and the cast just happen to be young teens.
Photo: Roy Tan
13 the Musical is at Ambassadors Theatre from 16th August until 23rd August 2017. Book your tickets here.
Watch the cast perform at West End Live 2017 here: