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BWW Review: LAMTA Does It Again With Exceptional End-Of-Year Showcase AWAKENING

The good, the bad and the ugly of 2020 performed by first-rate cast of students

BWW Review: LAMTA Does It Again With Exceptional End-Of-Year Showcase AWAKENING

The Luitingh Alexander Musical Theatre Academy (LAMTA) has managed to put together a celebration, reflection and exhibition of 2020 through their students' talents and perspectives. A live theatrical journey not soon to be forgotten, AWAKENING is a beautiful production.

Starting on a somber note with Cyril Ramaphosa's speech from mid-March superimposed on Hamilton's The World Turned Upside Down, the tone for AWAKENING is set immediately. The beginning of the program follows quite a melancholic route with the likes of performances of Mad World, All By Myself, and Sound of Silence. Some ensemble numbers are thrown in between these and, in particular, a parody of CHICAGO's Cell Block Tango titled Shell Shocked Tango provides a great and much-needed comedic break.BWW Review: LAMTA Does It Again With Exceptional End-Of-Year Showcase AWAKENING

The mood of AWAKENING lifts closer to the end of the program featuring a tap number to LA LA LAND's Another Day of Sun and a full cast performance of RENT's Seasons of Love. As hopeful as the end of the production was, it did come with an air of uncertainty that I think aptly suited the general mood of this year. The strength of AWAKENING was definitely more so found in majority of the emotional numbers and I'm not ashamed to admit that some of it even moved me to tears!

LAMTA has outdone itself on most fronts with AWAKENING but has done specifically well to show off dance talents with a number of contributors. Hope Maimane's contemporary choreography in The Fall at the beginning of the production was both heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring, while Ashley Searle's choreography was deeply moving and also showed off the best of students' skills. Figure of 8 Dance Collective is a personal favourite of mine and their choreo too featured in the number Don't Stand So Close.

BWW Review: LAMTA Does It Again With Exceptional End-Of-Year Showcase AWAKENING

If the theme of this show wasn't centered around 2020, it would be easy to forget that the cast of 36 hadn't been trained in-person year round - so high was the caliber of performances given by all students. Understandably, AWAKENING let a lot of recent graduates take centre stage this year. Amy Reed, Morgan Marshall, Tarah O'Brien and Michael Stray stood out in this year's performance as strongly as they did last year. There are also second years to keep an eye that include Stuart Brown, Noluthando Dlamini, Tannah Levick and Simone Neethling.

Sitting in the audience can be quite a surreal experience watching a show like this, BWW Review: LAMTA Does It Again With Exceptional End-Of-Year Showcase AWAKENINGbut Anton Luitingh and Duane Alexander have created a captivating program. Not only are their students talented and well-polished, Luitingh and Alexander excel in creating stunning pictures on stage. Supported by set and costume design by Niall Griffin and lighting design by Faheem Bardien, everything in a LAMTA staging just works.

Last year I couldn't wait to see what 2020 could make out of the students at LAMTA. It's truly a feat what the academy has accomplished in this unprecedented year and, if there's one production you leave the house to see this year, make it AWAKENING.

Photo credit: Supplied


AWAKENING runs at Theatre on the Bay until 5 December at 8pm with a Saturday matinee performance at 3pm. Book by emailing admin@lamta.co.za or calling 066 564 1816.




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From This Author Lindsay Kruger