Catherine Tate as Sara Jane Moore
Harry Morrison as John HinckleyMike McShane as Samuel Byck
Simon Lipkin as The Proprietor
First things first, I feel like I have to warn you that this will be very much Aaron Tveit since I spent the majority of the show watching him with (to quote my sister) ‘actual heart eyes.’
Okay, so the theater in general. I’m used to more traditional theaters like the Liverpool Empire theater or the Apollo Victoria Theater but I loved the Menier Chocolate Factory’s intimate feeling and the fact that I had floor seats was perfect. Me and my sister were right on the floor (technically we were on stage with Aaron so I’m over the moon with that) and the position of our seats were perfect because we could see literally everything!
Now for the cast reviews. Carly Bawden as Squeaky Fromme was amazing! Her voice was perfect for her as was her acting. Even though she was shooting the president for Charlie Manson was a bit stupid, I thought her delivery was perfect. My favorite of her songs was ‘I’m not worthy of your love.’ Even though the male parts of the song verged on creepy, I thought hers was a little bit heart breaking because her character was making this huge mistake to help a guy that she thought she loved.
Stewart Clarke as Giuseppe Zangara was another fantastic performance to watch. I will admit though, I didn’t fully watch it because Aaron was standing around I still wasn’t over him being in the same room as me. Anyway back to Stewart Clarke, he was perfect. I thought the reasons behind the assassination in this play was stupid (Booth you manipulative little shit) but when he spoke, or rather sung about the Great Depression I felt so bad for him. I studied the Great Depression when I did history in High School and I hated reading about all the stories. Zangara’s death was unexpected and so well acted. I was really disturbed by how real Stewart Clarke made it seem! So yeah, the song he sung as he was about to die was my favorite for his performance.
Simon Lipkin as The Proprietor was a performance that I need to see again. He was brilliant as The Proprietor and my favorite bit for him was the start, where he is asking the assassins if they would like to buy a gun to shoot a president. I noticed how his Proprietor was admired JWB through out the show, which is to be expected since he was the guy to show people how a president could be killed.
Mike McShane as Samuel Byck. I hate to say this but I wasn’t too fussed on his performance. I thought his scenes were a bit too long especially since he was mostly talking into his recording. The thing I loved most about the scene was the Balladeer. He moved over to where me and my sister were sitting and his interactions were brilliant. As McShane started going on and on and the Balladeer turned to the audience and mouthed ‘prick’ at Byck which was the only good thing about that part. I’m sorry if that sounds cruel!
Harry Morrison as John Hinckley wasn’t really in it that much so I couldn’t form a proper view on his character but I thought he was really creepy. His obsession with Jodie Foster was crazy and I did like the scene with Hinckley and Fromme was good to see as it showed the difference between a fantasy and a reality. The song they sung was heart breaking but more so on her side but that is nothing to do with the performance, it was just the character. I thought Harry Morrison was still good, I just didn’t see too much of him so I can’t form a good review on him sorry!
Andy Nyman as Charles Guiteau. Well I have to say first that I didn’t think too much of his character but then as we got to see him more I found that I rather liked him. I thought the Ballad of Guiteau was brilliant and Nyman was good in showing how Guiteau has a sort of happy-go-lucky sort of attitude. I was really disturbed by the hanging, well not really the hanging, just how he was dancing as the noose lowered with him still attached. A great performance I think.
David Roberts as Czolgosz was a performance that I was so glad I got to see. The scene where he is explaining about the glass bottles was brilliant executed and the confrontation of Booth and Czologsz as Booth tells him to break the bottle was brilliant. My heart ached for him when he announced his love for that woman (I forgot her name sorry!) and how he said he was coarse and ugly was just devastating. David Roberts was amazing and I would gladly pay to see him perform in Assassins again!
Catherine Tate as Sara Jane Moore. What can I say, out of all the performances I wasn’t too thrilled about. Her acting was superb and so was her delivery and her comical lines were hilarious but her signing wasn’t as strong as the others so I could barely hear what she was singing but when I ddi get to hear her, I thought she was quite good.
Jamie Parker as the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald. Well, I do these as two sort of separate reviews since they were two separate characters. I know everyone is trying to return their tickets because Aaron is leaving but honestly, go and see it for Jamie Parker. He is amazing in this as both the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald. So as the Balladeer, I thought Jamie Parker was brilliant. I loved the banter and the way he was with the Assassins. The balladeer and John Wilkes Booth was brilliant. I loved the way he was kind of tormenting and making fun of John Wilkes Booth and I loved the bit he had in Wheres My Prize. I thought his character was the moral part of the show. Or my sister, peterthehale had a great take. She thought the balladeer represented the American Dream gone right while the Proprietor
represented it failing. Now for Lee Harvey Oswald. I had my reservations because I’ve studied this assassination closely and I don’t think Lee did it. Anyway, his performance was outstanding! How he was manipulated into killing JFK for the sake of history remembering him, for people to admire and to hate him was heartbreaking to watch and to see him make that decision was enough to make me want to see it again!
Now for Aaron Tveit as John Wilkes Booths was outstanding. I honestly was blown away by everything. It’s so clear how much effort Aaron puts into his performances and thats not the inner fan girl speaking. Out of all of the actors, his was the strongest. The Ballad of Booth was my favorite number and I loved how Aaron sung ‘Let them cry, “dirty traitor!”’ was heart breaking. Ever since I booked my tickets, I listened to Victor Garbers version and I cried for half an hour because THIS was the song I had been dying to hear Aaron sing. His song in the past have been amazing but this was so powerful, emotional and desperate and honorable (even though JWB was a racist and everything I hate) because he was the only assassin who shot the president for selfless reasons. He thought it would fix his country, make it back to the country he had loved but it didn’t. People said he shot the president for gold, fame or the bad reviews and Aarons frustration of this came through perfectly and how he so desperately wanted the people to see that he was trying to do some good was hard to watch because you just felt so bad for this guy that tried to do good for his country. During the play, the assassins wouldn’t leave the room, they were just standing around the stage or floor. Aaron never stopped acting. Others just stood and watched but he was constantly on the ball. There was a bit where one of the other assassins gave him a bottle of coca-cola and when he drank it, it was funny to watch because this was JWB’s first taste of anything fizzy. The same bit, Aaron as JWB was fascinated by the light bulbs that were above him and again, it was amazing to see that he was constantly on the ball. His entrance was breath taking. How he strolled in though the song ’Everybody’s Got the Right.’ Just wow. There was a stream of light and even though you could just see his silhouette, the stage presence he has is fascinating. You find yourself looking in awe at him, at how he holds himself or of how he walks in with his cane and points at his gun when he’s asked if he wants to buy one. Now, my favorite bit of his acting wise was his scene with Jamie Parker as Lee Harvey Oswald was amazing. His words were so seductive. The way he convinces LHO was great to watch as his words are so smooth, his delivery was seductive and how he convinces Lee to shoot JFK was an outstanding example of Aaron’s incredible acting! I will also have to comment on his dance moves because Aaron has said in the past that he can’t dance. I’m calling bull shit on that. His moves were perfect and the dance to American from West Side Story was a shock to see but also something I can’t get out of my head.
Now the stage door.
I was waiting for Aaron to come out because I got him a gift bag full of stuff that included chocolates, mustache wax, beard wash, shower gel and a gift set from Lush so it was all organic and who doesn’t love Lush? I also made him a fan book that a lot of people submitted wonderful things to. It was the tveitfanbook and I gave it to him and he loved it! I’ll upload the videos soon because his face was adorable to see! Anyway, back to waiting. Catherine Tate came out and people kept asking if I was okay because I was a nervous wreck, shaking uncontrollably due to nerves. Anyway, Catherine Tate came out and my sister gave her a gift bag as well that had a lush gift set in and a box of chocolates and Catherine loved it! So then Aaron came out and I practically punched my sister due to excitement and walked over to him and gave him the fan book. He seemed a little shocked that someone had done something like that for him and then he got the gift bag and I explained why I got him the mustache wax and the beard wash because he was proud of growing them and he laughed a little and said thank you. I bumped into Aaron again in the Menier as he was leaving (so I was the first and last person to speak to him that night, how cool is that?!) and I mentioned how good Graceland was and then I said ‘So Mike’s alive then?’ and Aaron laughed and said ‘It seems that was doesn’t it?” He signed my next to normal book (yep I have that) and my catch my if you can CD, my program, my graphics (one assassins one and one from Next to Normal) and he was so made up with my Gabe graphic (will be posting it soon) and said that he loved it which made me more giddy and nervous. He also signed his Radio In My Head CD, one for me and one for the winner of the fanbook, wintrsoldier, and even though there was a lot, he was such a sweet heart!
Anyway, that’s all I can write for now, starting to feel a little tired and my wrist isn’t fully healed after writing in all of those submissions!