'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Assassins Review

Assassins Review

Musicals, like enthusiastic little weeds, seem to be sprouting up from every unimaginable crack at the Fringe. No subject seems too bizarre to touch on, be it cannibalism or in this case an historical assortment of assassins with the president of the United States as their target. 
The initial brain storming session for this must have been a lark. What an idea! How original and witty! It is a shame no one considered any novelty would soon wear off in a show that trundles on for an hour and a half. This even more so, considering the first assassination sets a fairly serious tone. In vain the tiny orchestra tries to shake off this mood, using plucky carnival music and electric piano solos. Yet any initial ‘punch’ is lost in a lament for the Confederacy by a man wracked by the destruction of the Civil War.
Desire to kill the president alone unites the ragtag bunch, as they exchange stories (and insults) in an imaginary assassins Valhalla. Each character recounts their story – some better than others. Sam Vick, for example, is the highlight, injecting a raw energy and hate into the subject. ‘We need to believe! To trust like little kids!’ he screams on his way to kill ‘Dick’ Nixon. It is here that the idea of an individual, pushed to far in a free society, and looking for recognition is exposed. Men like Vick are just as likely to crack as any ideologue. This would have perhaps been a more interesting train of thought to follow: what about Falling Down: The Musical! or Sam Vick’s Big Day Out: The Musical!?

One of the tag lines of the show is ‘every bodies got the right to be different’ which they certainly do, but I despair at a world in which everyone has the God given right to create a musical. This performance trots along, occasionally touching on interesting ideas (what was Lee Harvey Oswald thinking when he shot JFK?) but is otherwise thoroughly ordinary entertainment.

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