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Milo Panni (Evan) and the cast of 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

Guest review: 13 The Musical

Published August 18, 2017

13 The Musical is the hit Jason Robert Brown show about self-discovery in your teens and learning what it means to be a friend, currently being performed at the Ambassadors Theatre by the British Theatre Academy.

Who better, then, to review the show for Official London Theatre than our brilliant special guest reviewer, 13 year-old Oscar Francisco? Check out what Oscar thought of the show below.

13 The Musical is currently taking part in Kids Week, the annual promotion that allows kids to go free to London shows during August, when accompanied by a full-paying adult!

Oscar Francisco at 13 The Musical

Oscar at the Ambassadors Theatre

12 year old Evan Goldman’s life is good. He’s a popular kid about to turn 13, and he’s looking forward to his bar mitzvah, the biggest party of his life.

But as in all good musicals fate has other plans, and before the first song is through, Evan is catapulted from his exciting life in New York City to a tumbleweed town in Indiana where he faces a tough choice: give up the first true friends he’s made to hang with the cool kids – or face social Siberia forever.

Will Evan – a walking, talking (singing) ball of preteen angst, skilfully portrayed by likeable Milo Panni, survive small town hell and throw the party of the century? Will he outsmart the school bully, get the girl and, even more impressively, get the entire school into an R-rated movie? More importantly, along the way, will he learn ‘what it is to be a friend’?

Milo Panni (Evan) and Michele Banbury (Patrice) in 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

Milo Panni (Evan) and Madeline Banbury (Patrice) in 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

In such a great ensemble piece it was hard to pick out individual performances, but ‘girl next door’ Patrice (Madeline Banbury) shone with soaring vocals and expressive facial expressions in Tell Her and What It Means To Be A Friend. Isabelle Pappas (playing Lucy) was scowling, ruthless fun and dimwit jock Brett (Lewis Ledlie) and even dimmer sidekicks Malcolm and Eddie (Alex Thomas and Daniel Osei) provided some great comic set pieces: the song ‘Bad, Bad News’, performed by the pair along with Akmed Khemolie and George Littell (Ritchie and Simon) about the dangers of girls, was the showstopper of the night in a show packed with great numbers.

Which brings me to Ethan Quinn (Archie). He may have been one of the youngest on stage, but with his spot-on comic timing and bone dry delivery, he managed to steal almost every scene he was in. A name to watch.

The cast of 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

The cast of 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

A simple but clever set of moving door frames representing various locations in Evan’s world left plenty of room for dancing. Choreographer Ewan Jones (pulling double duty as Director) put the 19-strong talented company through their paces and the routines were brilliantly executed with high energy and humour. I loved the little nod to Fiddler On The Roof’s ‘bottle dance’ with Starbucks cups instead of bottles. I guess when you’re 13 it’s safety first!

The whole cast looked like they were having the time of their lives in numbers like Thirteen and All Hail The Brain and the poignant Homework was powerfully sung with harmonies on pointe.

Milo Panni (Evan) and the cast of 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

Milo Panni (Evan) and the cast of 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

The audience needed no excuse to clap along to the finale Brand New You, and followed it with a well-deserved standing ovation.

A feel-good night out for 13 year olds, anyone who has ever been 13, anyone who knows a 13 year old, anyone… yes, anyone in fact. So. Book. Now!

13 The Musical has great tunes, FANTASTIC choreography, silly jokes, some slightly ruder jokes… oh, and a bumblebee. Go see the bumblebee… he’s a legend.

5 Stars!

– Oscar Francisco

Alex Thomas (Malcom), Akmed Khemolie (Richie), George Littell (Simon), Daniel Osei (Eddie) in 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

Alex Thomas (Malcom), Akmed Khemolie (Richie), George Littell (Simon), Daniel Osei (Eddie) in 13 The Musical (Photo: Roy Tan)

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