”Willow: A new musical” is the latest soundtrack produced by the team at Averano which is a platform that aims to target the immersive elements that can be included across multiple mediums such as in musicals, comics and novels among other forms. Additionally, this soundtrack was produced during the ”lockdown era” (which is what I will refer to this period in the future) as the company had experienced expanded to include performers from all over while also allowing more high-quality theatre to be produced and enjoyed despite restrictions. This was the first (of supposed many) upcoming concept albums produced by Averano and if ”Willow” is something to go off of then I am very excited to see what they will come up with next!
The story of Willow itself documents two loves stories from two different generations each of which took place under the same magical willow tree. I really appreciate that the name of this piece of theatre is the object that ties both stories together which is both clever but helps the audience to more easily understand the imagery and importance of said tree. It follows the characters in their respective love journeys and makes a point to remind everyone that love and magic can withstand anything life throws at it. This is obviously a very important theme to explore but especially right now as people are possibly not able to see loved ones which allow the show to be both relatable and adds to the modern vibe of the show (despite the repetitive ideas of folklore and myth weaved throughout.) The show overall maintains a strong focus on real-world issues with “love” being a central idea with the narrative being more emotional and serious than the shows I am used to but still appreciated nevertheless. This show has a great inclusion of LGBT in a naturalistic and real way which for me is the best way to promote inclusivity and normalises that Gay people (and in this case women) exist and are valid. The show does contain occasional strong language and because all this I believe this musical is appropriate for a teenage audience of roughly 13+ years old to understand the themes throughout.
The music on this album is also very emotionally driven and stripped back to maintain the focus of real-life drama and feeling. There is also a constant vibe of folklore inspirations with the inclusion of violins, especially in the opening number titled “Sweet Willow.” Overall, all the songs in this playlist are incredible and both artfully performed and written. The songs could easily be taken from the show and be realised as an actual song rather than just tracks from a show which shows you the standard of the songs written. They aren’t you classic cheesy musical songs but are fully realised songs and clearly, a lot of time and effort has been put into the songs to make sure they are of the highest quality. The song “Real to Me” (performed by wonderful Madelyn Paterna) is a beautifully moving and is all about growing up. Madelyn’s voice and performance through song possessed the sense of innocence and child-like whimsy that conflicted flawlessly with the message of the song to create a very emotional song. My personal favourite songs in the whole show was the anthem titled “twister” which has in tears from the opening moments. The song is about a traumatic experience one of the character has had and many people have experienced and to shine a light on this form of emotional scaring is fantastic. Both the clever lyrics, that craft an incredible metaphor of a twister, and Emma Freeman’s flawless performance worked together to add to the emotional feeling of the number. The closing number in this show is called “Home” and in my opinion is the perfect way to end a show. All the voices worked beautifully together and musically it built cleverly and came to a definitive end which is great for me.
Overall, this is a very emotionally driven musical soundtrack that explores some very dark but important issues. I am excited as like I have said, Willow is supposed the first of many from this production company and if they can maintain the quality and standard of this show then they are going to become a force to be reckoned with. I would rate this show as 4 out of 5 stars!