Babies the Musical
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: The Other Palace, Review
Cast: Ashley Goh, Bradley Riches, Grace Towning, Jaina Brock-Patel, Lauren Conroy, Lucy Carter, Max Mulrenan, Morgan Phillips, Nathan Johnston, Rowan Macpherson, Viola Maisey and Zoë Athena 

After a rise in pregnancies among the year above, the school’s sex education department are compelled to take action. Fuelled by a blistering pop-rock score, Babies follows nine classmates as they take on their most important school project yet: keeping a fake baby alive for an entire week. As the pressures of teenage life collide with the demands of parenting, the students are forced to ask themselves: what is it I really want? who is it I really want to be?

With a book by Martha Geelan and music and lyrics by Jack Godfrey, Babies the Musical has hit London with its run at The Other Palace. Produced by Martyn Sands and under the direction of Martha Geelan, this coming of age musical is one to watch out for.

Kids are always saying they want to be grown ups, make adult money, have kids of their own but when given an assignment to nurture and care for a robotic baby doll for one week, these year 11 kids quickly learn things aren’t exactly as it first seems.

As someone who graduated high school twelve years ago, this hilarious yet heart-warming show not only resonated with today's generation with accuracy, but also managed to give off 2000’s school vibes; making it relatable for many. This is attributed with the pre-show and interval playlist. The staging, by Jasmine Swan, reflects this with a simple school setting. However the stage is considerably lower than previous productions I've seen at The Other Palace. This is likely because the structure of Babies has cast coming through the auditorium onto the stage.

What I truly loved about this show was that it didn't glorify teen pregnancy, but in fact educated about how difficult parenthood and raising a child can be. Something I think every school should do. From its lessons throughout, to the catchy musical score so brilliantly crafted by Jack Godfrey - you'll definitely be leaving the show humming one of the many memorable numbers!

One of my only criticisms of the show was its pacing, which was a tad up and down. I felt as though some scenes in between the musical numbers were dragged slightly too long, or were just there to fill space. However, act two regained great pacing and tied up the story full circle.

However, one thing I definitely can not criticise is the show's extraordinarily talented cast that completely owned the stage! To see that so many of these wonderful actors were making their professional debut was truly refreshing and rewarding to see. The entire cast are powerhouses not just with vocals, but also with their storytelling; I think they'll all have bright futures in UK theatre. A huge standout for me however was Zoë Athena as Leah, The way Zoë portrayed Leah both angered me, then broke my heart. A performance that will truly stay with me for a long time.

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about Babies having known nothing except the catchy first song (“Baby Baby Baby”) before I went in. Only currently running until 14 July, I can only hope this is not the last we see of this incredible new British writing. Babies definitely deserve a longer run and I truly hope it gets that.

Babies is a show for everyone; whether you’re currently in year 11 or have been out of school for sometime. Not glorifying teen pregnancy but instead educating about the costs of raising a child, at whatever age. And of course, insane vocals from every single cast member. A story that reminds you that no matter what you’re going through in life, your friends will always be there by your side. And that it’s completely okay to just be a kid and not rush’s really not all sunshine and rainbows.

You can book tickets to Babies the Musical, here.

Review by Dani

**photo credit: Matt Crockett**

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