Six trembling pre-teens take the stage for the competition they have prepared for their whole lives.
It’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the stakes (and nerves) are high for these academically inclined youngsters. The UNSW Theatre Society's 2019 major production, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, written by Rachel Sheinkin with music and lyrics by William Finn, is all about the thrilling highs and the devastating lows of a Middle School Spelling Bee. The resulting production is a hilarious and very fun night out that is not to be missed.
First time director Jordan Barnes has gathered a very talented ensemble to make up the schoolkids who are in contention to win the very competitive spelling bee, and the adults who run it. Each student has a unique and quirky personality, brought to life by a cast that are both musically talented and very, very funny. Comic highlights include Lise Gluckman as the outspoken, politically savvy, lisp-ridden Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (try spelling that!), Dave Collins as the competitive and unfriendly William Barfée, and Jack Westbury as Leaf Coneybear, the ditsy third-runner-up (who only got in to the Putnam County Bee because 1st and 2nd place at qualifiers were unavailable). Sam Walsh and Lily Stokes have a great rapport as the Spelling Bee moderators and Isabella Olsson is good, if underused, as the surly ex-con volunteering at the Spelling Bee for community service.