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Review of Assassins at Chelsea Theatre


Shows are often revived and revived around this time of year as the Edinburgh Fringe looms. Assassins is not one of them.

Not only is the show one of Sondheim’s lesser known pieces, it is a difficult beast to tame, and with a small cast and a six piece band, TJ Lloyd’s production did more than just tame it.

It should be said, as the show has so many parts that could be considered leads, it is impossible to mention them all, however it is rare you see a cast as solid as this one. Every member of the company,( in particular the ten leads) shine and have a strong grasp on their characters, which makes it almost impossible to slip out of the world of the show.

It often occurs there is one member of the cast that constantly catches your eye and in this show it was Dan Stark. As soon as he walked on, you felt his presence on stage and then this was backed up with his captivating portrayal of Leon Czolgosz. He particularly shone in “Gun Song”, one of my favourite numbers, supported by equally fantastic cast members Becky Silverstein (Sarah Jane Moore), Matthew Harcourt (John Wilkes Booth) and William Branston (Charles Guitaeu). The quartet gave me goosebumps and was a perfect example of how when Sondheim is done right, there is nothing better.

Another particularly special moment was “Unworthy of Your Love”. Lucy Smith (Lynette Fromme) and Jack Stark (John Hinckley) took full advantage of the intamicy of the song (one of the most beautiful love songs ever written in my opinion) and yet still utilised the uncomfortable context to further the depth of their characters. It was a truly beautiful moment in the show, and came at a vital time, as it gave the show the energy to push through to the end with attack and vigour.

The show was not just beautifully executed, respecting the fantastic piece of art Sondheim and John Weidman created, but a truly special interpretation directed fantastically by TJ Lloyd, with a wonderful band led by Bridget Biggar. With a cast full of young actors with bright futures ahead of them, if you are heading up to the fringe this month don’t miss the opportunity to see something very special.

5 Star Rating

Review by Kara Taylor Alberts

Perhaps one of the most iconic questions of the 20th century is brought to life in Stephen Sondheim’s theatrical tour de force, Assassins. The stories of the 9 successful and would be assassins of the presidents of the United States are intriguingly woven together to form a powerful evening of musical theatre.

This riveting piece explores the individual stories of the nine successful and unsuccessful US presidential assassins and those stories are intriguingly woven together in Sondheim’s darkly humourous and powerful award-winning musical that ironically features some of his most compelling and lyrical music. The reverse side of the American dream, Sondheim and Weidman explore the misfits who changed history.

At Chelsea Theatre, London
2nd to 6th August 2016,  7.45pm

Assassins will be playing at Paradise in Augustine (Venue 152) from the 22-28th of August.
For tickets and more information go to http://www.bbtheatrep.co.uk/.


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