‘You wanna shoot a president?’ Well here are 9 people who evidently want to. Over the last 152 years 9 people have attempted to assassinate 8 presidents, 4 succeeded. The musical is classic Stephen Sondheim; dark, bold and extremely funny. The cast deal well with the words, though there are some tuning issues. The show is plagued with technical issues, including a dodgy stage revolve, strange lighting states and popping mics. The cast deal well with all of the problems, though there does seem to be a lack of energy at the beginning and towards the end. The show really gets going during How I Saved Roosevelt.
As a rule the whole cast are stronger together, creating a strong, solid sound. They are led remarkably by the stellar Jordan Clarke (Musical Director) and his perfectly in sync band. There are some stand out performances. Abigail Williams as Sara Jane Moore is eye-catching. She steals scenes and pulls laughs from the smallest movement. Her voice is excellent. Andrew Pepper as Charles Guiteau is another. Pepper is all limbs and beard. His comic timing is excellent and The Ballad Of Guiteau is a particular favourite with the audience.
The main space at The Pleasance is a difficult one. The wing space is small, meaning the audience one more than one occasion catch a glance of the actors being actors and not their characters. It’s clear this is a space originally built for comedy and smaller groups on stage. The team of Assassins navigate the space well, and manage to interact and include the audience despite how far back the auditorium seems to feel.
Despite the technical issues, this is genuinely a very enjoyable evening. Although an interval would have been welcome, the story carries us through and manages to keep us interested. Slow to get started, the cast of Assassins won me round working well as an ensemble. It’s an excellent choice for Sevans Productions debut, particularly relevant in these difficult political times. A solid debut from Sevans Productions, Assassins is entertaining, if overly long. There are some stand-out performances, yet the production as a whole requires a little tightening.
Written by @EmJKerr