Spring Awakening is bold and refuses to shy away from the sort of issues that have made us squirm for centuries.
Originally performed in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind’s controversial play is notorious for causing riots due to its provocative content of adolescent sexuality, suicide, abortion and rape.
This interpretation, commissioned by Headlong, has been brought up to date by playwright Anya Reiss and director Ben Kidd.
And for Kidd, Spring Awakening is just as relevant today as it ever was more than 100 years ago.
He says: “It is quite an unnerving play and we always wanted it to feel as though it still could happen.
“All these years down the line and the things that cause pain still cause pain.
“You read it and stuff happens that you are not prepared for.
“The first scene is set on somebody’s 14th birthday and the things they do feel very dangerous.”
It is the first time the classic European play has been performed on a big stage in 15 years, partly due to the fact it requires a cast of around 40 actors.
And despite the ever-changing world we live in, Kidd insists some ways and attitudes have simply stood still.
He says: “The more things change, the more things stay the same - that is a saying with an element of truth in it.
“People say it is a play about sex and that is true - it is about young people trying to understand stuff like what masturbation means and dealing with desires.
“It is about that age when you start coming to terms with death and young people come up against things they don’t understand.
“No one talks about desires.”
Spring Awakening; Richmond Theatre, the Green, Richmond; May 7-10, 7.30pm evening performances, 2.30pm Saturday matinee; tickets £10-£23; visit atgtickets.com/richmond or call the box office on 0844 8717651.