13 Going on 30 the Musical
Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, London
Cast: Lucie Jones, Jamie Muscato, Grace Mouat, Caleb Roberts, Alex Stoll, Andrew Berlin, Kia-Paris Walcott, Mary-Jean Caldwell, Jena Pandya, Lewis Asquith, Ivan Fernandez Gonzalez, Doireann McNally, Louie Gray, Bea Ward, Delilah Bennett-Cardy, Finn Henry Barwell and Jasmine Djazel 

What does Jenna Rink want for her birthday? That’s easy. At thirteen years old, she wants to skip her school years and to be thirty, flirty and thriving.

As she blows out her birthday candles, she magically wakes up seventeen years later: a thirty-year-old fashion magazine editor with a life that seems to be perfect. As she unravels the mystery of the person she has grown up to be, Jenna must work out what, and who, really matters.

Last week, I was lucky enough to get to see one of the very few workshops of a brand new musical, 13 Going on 30, based around the 2004 hit film of the same name. If you're unfamiliar with the film, it's somewhat of a cult classic. It follows 13 year old Jenna Rink who is tired of her teenage life, and wants nothing more than to be 30 years old. When her wish unexpectedly comes true, Jenna wakes as a 30 year old woman, with a picture perfect life. But everything isn't quite as it seems...

A workshop is one of the earliest ways to see an up and coming musical. It's usually just the cast, the band and their scripts during these performances. It's the bare bones of the musical without costumes, sets, or anything else used to set the scene. However, this workshop was so polished and crisp, I'd say it could have passed for a staged concert. I've been fortunate enough to see many workshops, and none have felt as ready to hit the West End stage as 13 Going on 30. 

As well as the material being near perfect, both adult and young casts were simply exceptional. I think the space being so intimate helped to capture the magic of the show, and the positive message it spreads throughout. Even with it being stripped back, the script and score were both charming and uplifting.

The film is one of my personal favourites, so I sat expectantly waiting for iconic scenes, and fans of the film will not be disappointed. I have to say, seeing Jamie Muscato and Lucie Jones dance to Thriller was not on my musical theatre bingo card for this year, but it was absolutely brilliant. The characters all felt incredibly real, which helped the audience to connect and relate.

If you're a fan of noughties' music, then you'll love the soundtrack to 13 Going on 30. Catchy pop intertwined with musical theatre - what more could you want from a soundtrack? A particular standout was "I Wanna Be", sung by young Matty and Jenna (McNally and Gray). There are also some stunning duets within the show, which showcased Jones and Muscato's voices beautifully. 

While the entire cast were brilliant, a mention must go to the young company. In particular Doireann McNally (young Jenna), Louie Gray (young Matty) and Bea Ward (young Lucy). The young cast have such a great opportunity in this production to get their teeth into some juicy acting, and they took this opportunity with both hands. I'd go as far as to say the best young cast I've ever seen.

Andy Fickman (Heathers) is the director of 13 Going on 30. If I hadn't known it was his work, I could have guessed. He leaves such a stamp on his shows, and this production is no different.

I am ready for this show to hit the West End with a full staged production, and for it to become my whole personality. It's heart-warming, memorable and above all, a true tribute to the fan favourite film. They say not everything works as a musical, but 13 Going on 30 definitely does, and I can't wait to follow the show on it's inevitable journey onto a West End stage.

You can follow the progress of 13 Going on 30 on socials, where their handle is 1330musical.

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