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The Sad Club | Dorfman Theatre (Connections Festival)

Connections Festival is a programme which commissions ten new plays by some of the country’s leading playwrights. They are workshopped by over 250 schools and youth theatres across the country and one of each version is selected to perform in the annual Connections Festival.


The Sad Club is a musical written by Luke Barnes with music by Adam Pleeth, and was first performed as part of the National Theatre Connections programme in 2019. Returning to the festival again this year, the musical explores depression and anxiety, and has an uplifting message of “you are not alone, we are in the club too”.

Performed by Spotlights Community Youth Theatre on the final night of the National Theatre Connections Festival, the play doesn’t follow a chronological narrative, but is instead short episodes that features different challenges in a young person’s life from competition, identity, exam pressures and relationships. To tackle the quick changes from location and time periods, director Marley Hunter kept the design minimal with the cast wearing all black and at times, putting on an item of clothing to symbolise a change in character.  


Music played a useful and humorous role of representing the start of a new scene and transporting us to that location, such as a song about kangaroos taking us to Australia. There were other fun choices to involve the audience, such as giving out ‘Sad Club’ member cards at the start and asking a member of the audience to hold a paddling pool which was later used to represent an Olympic size swimming pool. 


Led by musical director Colin Grant, the cast did a good job with singing Pleeth’s pop infused songs and whilst the choreography was simple, the ensembles’ smiles were infectious. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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