Review: Assassins, at Pleasance Theatre
Must-see revival of Stephen Sondheim musical takes aim at US presidents
29 March, 2018 — By Paul Cowling
Andrew Pepper in Assassins. Photo: Sarah Evans
SEVAN Productions’ revival of this Stephen Sondheim musical is a thousand-rounds-a-minute salvo that starts with a bang and ends with a standing ovation.
This A to Zee backdrop is a “Shoot the Prez” fairground-style shooting gallery.
Peter Watts is commanding as the proprietor, handing out guns like candy to gathered misfits.
“Everyone’s Got the Right,” everyone sings, but for what?
To live a good life, or to end someone else’s?
These vulnerable strays, abandoned by the American dream are wide-eyed when faced with an instrument of death in their hands. It’s a who’s who of POTUS gun poppers from Alexander McMorran’s excellent John Wilkes-Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald (Jason Kadji). Oswald, is encouraged by Abe Lincoln slayer, Wilkes-Booth, to shoot JFK.
Abigail Williams is a hoot as Sarah Jane Moore, the jittery firecracker, who “fluffed her lines” when faced with firing at Gerald Ford.
Mention too of Alfie Parker, who takes slob to a new level as a comical, Santa-suited Samuel Byck. It was Byck who hijacked a plane with the plan to fly into the White House and wipe out Nixon. In doing so, Byck killed a police officer. But, is it right to mock killing the leader of the Free World? And so too, a dead cop? Is it okay to parody the ease of gun access in this Trump monster climate?
Despite this, (and a few microphone issues) Assassins is slick and a must see.
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