REVIEW: 13 the musical, Ambassadors Theatre ✭✭✭✭

13 the musical
The cast of 13 the musical. Photo: Roy Tan

13 the musical
Ambassadors Theatre
4 Stars

Jason Robert Brown’s musical 13 is quite something. Performed by a cast where no character is older than the show’s title. It’s a musical that perfectly captures the experience of growing up and trying to fit in.

Jason Robert Brown’s score is a treasure trove of musical styles. Combined with Dan Elish and Robert Horn’s book, there’s something in 13 for everyone. Killer songs, witty comedy and loads of heart, it’s a show that I enjoy coming back to.

13 the musical
Ethan Quinn as Archie in 13 the musical. Photo: Roy Tan

There are some great young actors in the making here. Madeline Banbury’s Patrice was thoroughly captivating. Isabella Pappas channelled her inner bitch as Lucy manipulating Chloe Endean’s wonderful Kendra with ease. Lewis Ledlie’s Brett towering above his fellow cast mates was impressive especially when placed alongside castmate Archie played by Ethan Quinn. Quinn’s take on the handicapped Archie was well handled and his relationship with Milo Panni’s Evan was heartfelt and humorous.

Ewan Jones’ choreography was lively and well handled by the cast. Chris Ma’s small band of four handled the score well keeping the proceeding lively throughout.

13 the musical
Milo Panni as Evan and the cast of 13 the musical. Photo: Roy Tan

This cast certainly had the musical portion of this production under control, but when you have a book by two great comedy writers, you come to realise that timing is everything. These young performers had an overall tendency to rush dialogue and in doing so losing some valuable comedy moments. These are performance skills that can only be learned and that is the point of The British Theatre Academy.

It’s difficult not to get drawn in by the sheer enthusiasm and youthful exuberance of this young cast. It’s great to see new talent up on stage in the West End struttung their stuff with shows like 13. There’s no doubt that if this is the next generation of British theatre performers then we are in good hands.

Until 23 August


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