Theatre: Assassins



You know you can't hide your roots... I always like to say that for some reason... But Saturday evening arriving at the Landor pub er Theatre to see Assassins I felt thoroughly un-Australian. There I was dressed for a night at the theatre (albeit fringe theatre in the same street as a raid on two crack dens the night before) to be surrounded at the bar by many, many pissed Australians in thongs (the flip-flop kind), singlets and shorts as if it really was January in oz. It was no surprise that amongst all this malarkey the Fosters was flowing rather smoothly. I took solace with the fact that I was at least wearing Aussiebums even if nobody else knew that. Well that was sort of disclosed later in the evening after inviting the West End Whingers and their friends back to my flat and forgetting that I had not yet put away all the washing...

But anyway, after getting past the rowdy mob downstairs I settled in to watch the show armed with a G&T. Assassins is Sondheim's take on the men and women who have tried (and sometimes succeeded) in assassinating the President of the United States. An unusual sort of show, and was somewhat lost amongst his other shows after opening ahead of the first Gulf War and then for trying to open again in September 2001. Neither were probably the best of times for a cynical look at America. Still it is one of Sondheim's favourite shows (so he said back in 2004) and it does set out to do something interesting and different. It is the sort of show that will have you dialing up the back stories of the would-be assassins for weeks to come...

As for this production (which has now completely sold out), well I originally mistook the artwork for some sort of locomotive. But no, it was Assassins not Starlight Express I was watching... But there were plenty of times I wished they got their skates on with this production. The pacing at times was so unbearably slow. In fact slow enough to doze off... Perhaps it would have helped to have used a sound effect that sounded like a gun going off rather than a door closing?

Still when it came to the musical numbers the actors by and large were great. And for the first production of this new company, here's hoping there are many more... Just hopefully not on the evenings at the Landor when there are hoards of Aussies there downing the Fosters... After all it is a crap beer...

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