As a nation, the United States of America affords its citizens certain constitutional freedoms; each citizen is born equal to every other, and as such has the potential to one day become president of their nation. Equally –and controversially- citizens have the right to bear arms. It is therefore equally as plausible that all citizens have the potential to become a presidential assassin.
As Assassins unfolds, director Zoe Thirsk has done well to capture the knife-edge circumstances by which a life can turn to either good or extreme evil. Doing well, to preserve the relevance of the topic at hand; the plots of each assassin-in-the-making are considered. The cast of What We Did Next are excellent in their layering of each other’s parts, and within what is a modest-sized stage, they manage to retain the impressiveness of a Sondheim musical; thankfully avoiding what could be a busy and over-crowded show.
This is in part is thanks to the deceptively simple set design, which is used cleverly throughout the performance. Shaun Holdom-Eyles brings John Wilkes-Booth to life with skill and a sombre impression that he, as an actor, has delved deep into the man’s strange pathology – a notable performance. Also worth note is Andrew Ab’s portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald – a subtle yet sinister take on one of the century’s most famous killers.
This show packs a lot in, and lovers of history, the nation of America, or indeed just a good musical will certainly enjoy Assassins. Cleverly, the cast never stray too far the genuine realities at stake; that each and every citizen could turn out to be the ‘Leader of the Free World’, or indeed their killer.
Assassins is clever, funny and the band do well to carry each story along. This is a show that will have you both tapping your feet and holding your breath.
Assassins – Unity Theatre, Liverpool – Wednesday 6th – Saturday 9th June, 2018