18 Aug

13 the musical
At the Ambassadors Theatre
Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn
13 has a degree of sophistication which is staggering in a teenage show. Delightful music, athletic choreography and a witty script. It is played with an entire cast of teenagers.
The BTA is a remarkable organisation that trains young people to perform in musical theatre. Not only do they get expert training in this most disciplined of genres but they also get a chance to appear in the West End alongside professional performers. They are the ensemble and they dance up a storm in the choreography of Ewan Jones He also directs the show with such expertise that every single joke – and there are many – are played with total aplomb and sincerity.
The professional actors take it in turns to play the lead roles, so one can only comment on the cast of the press performance.
Milo Panni plays the leading role of Evan. Milo is a young man with terrific singing voice, perfect comedy timing and already a veteran of stage and film. He plays a boy of nearly thirteen who is about to have his bar mitzvah. He wants it to be a success and invites all his friends, but is devastated when his parents’ divorce, and he must leave his much-loved New York to live in a remote town in Indiana. His ambition now is to find a new lot of friends to invite to his big party.The local bully and sex king Brett (Lewis Ledlie) is terminally stupid and a bully, but Evan needs friends so plays along with him, and his followers.
This production has a classy team. Patrice, Evan’s girlfriend is played by Madeline Banbury an actress who achieved stardom at the age of eight. Archie a young man suffering from a terminal disease is played by the marvellous Ethan Quinn who practically ran away with Ragtime at the Charing Cross Theatre. In this he is a brave kid who laughs at his disability and manages to steal every single scene. The local sexpot is played by Isabella Pappas who was nominated for an Olivier Award last year.
There are so many wonderful professionals about to appear regularly in our lives in the future. And the high standards among the ensemble proves that there is a lot of talent we still have to discover.
With musical director Chris Mo and his musicians, the songs are delightful and carry the story beautifully, the lighting and sound are perfect and the set by Tom Paris is simple and cleverly fashioned from the current show at the Ambassadors
This is a show to see, to love and to enjoy.

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