At the end of the showing I saw the cast were rewarded with a trophy that titled them as Best Young Cast – a reward I think is just. The small and young cast are talents to watch out for and have put together an enjoyable show. ‘The Surface’ is a musical that indulges all your favourite edgy Young Adult tropes, with a dash of ecopolitical intrigue to establish its world as dark, gritty, but hopeful.
After being forced underground as a result of global warming gone extremely wrong, leaving the eponymous surface uninhabitable for humans, a class society has developed. Warriors and scavengers fight to survive in the damp and dark while the elite families, rich and draped in white, enjoy all the luxuries they can afford. But when the princess, and promised bride in an advantageous arranged marriage, is kidnapped the lines between boundaries begins to blur.
Seraphina’s actress remains a stand-out performer with a great voice for solos, however the ensemble as a whole are strong. The final message of girl power and team work is uplifting, making it a perfect show for teens as it doesn’t preach this in a way that feels ingenuine. Characters might come across as stock, but they are performed with heart and great enthusiasm.
‘The Surface’ is an enjoyable show that prioritises overcoming differences and the power of community that, despite its dimly lit setting, manages to be refreshingly less bleak than other stories from contemporary dystopian YA. It must also be celebrated for avoiding the brooding morally grey male romance subplot that plagues the genre, allowing it to be free to explore more creative options and plotlines.