With an aim to capture the fallacy of the American Dream, and a culture of violence that pervades society, Assassins hits the nail on the head.
Assassins is a dark and daring comical musical based on the idea of Charles Gilbert Jr., music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by John Weidman.
It’s a stunning musical performance that exposes the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or attempted to assassinate a President of the United States over the years.
The dress rehearsal yesterday night was passionate and dynamic, filling the theatre with raw energy.
Performed in the Rotunda Theatre of Theological Hall, the location was ideal. The old building set the mood for transporting the audience back in time to witness these assassination attempts.
Directed by Dylan On and produced by Tessa Burnside, the musical opened with a spectacular performance by the gun salesman, who provides the characters with their weapons at the beginning of the show.
The performance was filled with vivacious enthusiasm and bold musical numbers that stay with you long after you leave the theatre.
The talented cast included a memorable performance by Luke Brown as the Proprietor, with his cunning looks and the gargantuan moustache to go with them. John Wilkes Booth and Sam Byck were two of the most strikingly vivid characters with their animated performances.
Musical highlights were the soul-saddening “Unworthy of Your Love” and the vividly performed “Something Just Broke.” Filled with innuendo, “The Ballad of Guiteau” was performed remarkably well by the character Charles Guiteau.
Dylan On’s unique directing is definitely worth mentioning, and there are certainly tremendous messages that are implicit underneath the quirky and passionate musical numbers.
The harsh reality that we live in a world of deep inequality and despair, which is hidden by the false illusion of freedom and democracy especially resonates throughout the musical.
Anarchist Emma Goldman’s brief appearance is memorable wherein she lectures the character Leon Czolgosz on the hypocrisy of governments with her remarkable quote, “They make us servants, Leon. We do not make servants of each other.”
A particularly comic scene depicts the witty and talented performances of quibbling characters Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore when Moore accidently spills her gun’s bullets upon encountering President Ford.
In short, Assassins beautifully stitches together the disparate forces of comedic entertainment with political commentary. It expertly eases the tension between the two with witty musical numbers that reverberate with social satire.
A musical with a political message can never be easy to produce, and the entire production team and cast should be lauded in their efforts to bring forth such a strong and evocative performance.
Assassins will be playing Nov. 29 to 30 and Dec. 1 to 7. Check queensmusicaltheatre.net/assassins for more details.
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