Printable Copy13 THE MUSICAL
Adelaide Youth Theatre
Star Theatres
Until 18 Mar 2017

Review by Paige Mulholland

Who doesn’t remember what it was like being thirteen? Between the pressure to grow up, the pressure to stay little, and the pressure to fit in, it’s a real pressure cooker. Adelaide Youth Theatre’s production of “13 the Musical” captures the awkwardness, the tenderness and the confusion that comes with being a teenager.

“13 the Musical” follows the story of Evan Goldman, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker whose life is uprooted when his parents split up and his mother decides to move him to small town Indiana. There, he starts fresh, with new friends, a new school, and a new plan for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. With music by modern musical theatre powerhouse Jason Robert Brown and book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, this is a resonant and well-written, if a little stereotypical, view of adolescent life. Although the show’s readiness to label a thirteen-year-old girl a “slut” and a villain certainly presents some troubling values, the focus on resisting peer pressure and being yourself is a noble one.

The ‘Indiana’ cast, who performed on the night of review, is overall very strong and well-directed by Lindsay Prodea. Jerome Javier leads the cast with excellent vocal tone and comic timing, and other stand outs include Camryn Jordan, who plays the vindictive Lucy with an obvious maturity and confidence, and Annabel Lane, who plays Patrice with a perfect mix of vulnerability and conviction. Jack Conroy is also very enjoyable as Archie. Unfortunately, there were times where the cast were fighting the band to be heard, particularly at the beginning. Also, many of the male cast members were audibly struggling with the high notes, to an extent that it is surprising that no moves were made to change the key or switch octaves during rehearsals. Teenage boys’ voices are unpredictable as it is – why make it more uncertain?

The band was advertised as being “entirely made of teenagers” and this is not quite accurate – at least one member of the band was clearly an adult. Despite these difficulties, overall the band is very strong, and well lead by Musical Director Ben Francis.

This show is polished, professional, and brimming with young talent. “13 the Musical” is a charming and enjoyable show, whether you’re 13 or 113.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5