13 the musical is SAOS Youth Theatre’s first production.

With music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, 13 the musical opened on Broadway in October 2008 and closed on January 4th 2009 after a total of 105 performances.

13 tells the story of 12-year-old Evan Goldman who moves from New York to Appleton Indiana following his parents divorce. Evan moves a few months before the Bar Mitzvah planned to celebrate his 13th birthday.

Director and choreographer Rachel Davies has successfully created a piece of musical theatre that is full of energy and humour whilst maintaining the emotions of everyday teenage life. Scenery and costumes are simple, yet effectively draw the viewer into the world of small town Indiana.

The orchestra under the direction of Nick Jeavons delivers the modern “pop” score with precision and professionalism.

This is a very talented company with strong performances from each member of the ensemble particularly in the opening number 13, which set the standard for the rest of the production.

I enjoyed the performances from younger cast members George Blower (Eddie) and Harry Way (Malcolm), who had very good chemistry with each other and delivered the musical numbers pitch perfectly.

Tom O’ Leary has strong acting ability and gave a very convincing performance as the most popular boy in the school Brett.

India Shinton was equally convincing as captain of the cheerleading squad, Kendra, delivering the musical numbers and dance routines with precision and power.

Shannon Lee gave a strong performance as scheming Lucy; I particularly enjoyed Shannon’s delivery of the musical number Opportunity.

Hannah Shillingford gave an impressive performance as Patrice the girl next door. Hannah has a beautiful voice delivering her musical numbers with vulnerability and passion.

James Bastable as Archie had excellent comedic timing reducing the audience to fits of laughter throughout his performance.  James also has a very good voice, great stage presence and strong acting ability resulting in a superb overall performance as the geeky Archie.

The outstanding performance of the evening for me was given by Oliver Keeling as Evan. Oliver has a great stage presence, delivered each musical number with ease and emotion, and used his accomplished acting skills to create a believable character.

The encore of the production Brand New You was lead by Madeline Rock (Cassie) Ella Fisher (Charlotte) and Sami Brasenell (Molly). All three performers delivered perfect vocals and precise energetic choreography which resulted in rapturous applause and well deserved standing ovations from the audience.

SAOS Youth Theatre is an exceptional company, brimming with talent, and we look forward in anticipation to their next production.

13 ran at Stourbridge Town hall from the 4th- 6th July.


Theatretastic rating 5/5:



We say: “SAOS Youth Theatre delivered an exceptional debut performance of 13 the musical. This is a Youth Theatre to watch out for!”