★★★★

Babies: The Musical, currently running at The Other Palace from 31st May to July 14th, 2024, is an exuberant yet layered exploration of teenage life, set against a backdrop of catchy power pop tunes reminiscent of McFly and Busted. This new production, crafted by the talented duo Jack Godfrey and Martha Geelan, is not just a feel-good summer hit but a poignant portrayal of the trials and tribulations of adolescence.

The cast of Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.
The cast of Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.

At first glance, Babies might seem like a lighthearted romp through teenage dramas. However, it delves much deeper, presenting multiple touching storylines that resonate with audiences of all ages. The musical successfully balances humour and heartfelt moments, making it both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The young cast of Babies is nothing short of phenomenal. Each actor brings authenticity and energy to their roles, creating believable and engaging relationships on stage. Lauren Conroy’s portrayal of Jasmine is particularly noteworthy. She convincingly captures the essence of a teenager under pressure, making her character’s condescending behaviour relatable rather than off-putting.

The cast of Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.
The cast of Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.

Zoe Athena as Leah is another standout. Her performance skillfully blends the character’s troubled inner world with a façade of nonchalance, providing depth and complexity. Jaina Brock Patel and Lucy Carter as Becky and Lulu, respectively, offer a delightful dynamic, infusing the show with humour and charm. Bradley Riches shines as Toby, bringing warmth and relatability to the role, while Max Mulrenan, in his professional debut as Ben, impresses with his comic timing. Ashley Goh is brilliant as Alex, offering plenty of funny moments that audiences will be able to relate to.

The soundtrack of Babies is packed with memorable songs that range from the upbeat and catchy to the deeply emotional. “Hot Dad” emerges as a crowd favorite, combining humor with a catchy melody. “Without Saying Goodbye” is another highlight, offering a poignant moment that tugs at the heartstrings.

Every musical number in the show is designed to advance the narrative and evoke emotion, ensuring that the audience remains engaged throughout. The powerful band backing the performers adds to the overall impact, though at times it can overshadow the lyrics in group numbers. Nevertheless, the core message of the difficulties of navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood remains clear and compelling.

The cast of Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.

One of the most compelling aspects of Babies is its authenticity. The characters feel real, their struggles and triumphs echoing the experiences of many in the audience. The relationship between Toby (Bradley Riches) and Jacob (Nathan Johnston) is particularly well-drawn, emphasising the theme of not judging others based on appearances and recognising that everyone has their own battles.

Toby (Bradley Riches) and Jacob (Nathan Johnston) in Babies: The Musical. Photography by Matt Crockett.

Babies: The Musical is a triumph in contemporary theatre, offering a fresh and engaging take on teenage life. Its combination of strong performances, catchy tunes, and heartfelt storytelling makes it a standout production. This musical is not only the feel-good show of the summer but also a meaningful exploration of growing up. As you leave the theatre, don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming the tunes on your way home. For anyone looking for a perfect blend of humour, heart, and great music, Babies is the show to see this season.

Tickets to see Babies at The Other Palace Theatre are available now by clicking here – performances are running until 14th July 2024.