On 23/02/2017 I had the opportunity of obtaining free tickets to a new show off the west end during it’s previews. It was day 2. I’d never been to the Greenwich Theatre before, it’s so close to where I’m living as well. There’s a nice little social hub area before you take your seats were people were conversing over wine and gin and tonics. It felt quite fresh and vibrant in a social way. With music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Tim Maner and book by Tim Maner, Lizzie is based on an original concept by Alan Stevens Hewitt and Tim Maner. This new production comes to London following a run at the Frederica Teater, Denmark in January 2017.
Taking our seats we were greeted with this view.
Immediately you could recognise the rock elements to the show. It was exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a ‘rock’ show before. I went in knowing nothing other than recommendations from friends informing me that the singing was phenomenal. This is one of my favourite things about not knowing anything about a show because you go in not knowing what to expect. You either leave inspired or leave disappointed. The latter on this occasion wasn’t an option for the night. The actual structure of the show was set out in more of a Rock concert setting as opposed to a rock musical and I think this is one of its greatest selling points. It gets people interested in the show and it’s definitely something to talk about. I don’t think it would have worked if it was staged similarly to most musicals. At the interval it was definitely a topic of conversation between myself and my friends. I was enticed from the moment the show started. The music was electrifying and the vocals were insane. It’s one of them shows where the lyric drives the plot line and so you find yourself listening extensively to the lyric which in essence draws you in much more. The lighting that was used really caught your eye, it complimented both the music and story line, capturing your gaze at just the right times through a quick flash of fluorescent bright white lights to deep orange tones throughout.
The show tells the story of Lizzie Borden. An American woman who found herself in the middle of a murder trial in the hot summer of 1892, in small New England city – Fall River, Massachusetts. The murder victims were her father and step mother. This at the time became a media sensation that got hundreds of people speculating and her story has become an American Legend. It’s bold and it’s mysterious. The whole show is captivating. For the first 15 minutes of the show I was sat like the reserved theatre goer I am with a gentle tapping of the foot making sure that I wasn’t distracting anybody too much but by the end of the second half I was bobbing and ‘rocking’ away uncontrollably. Okay not exactly rocking but still you get my point. The music is incredible. It has such a different quality to other shows I’ve seen at present. Lizzie is such an interesting concept. I think that the beauty of the story is that you watch it unfold before your eyes through Lizzie’s kind of distorted way of life. The more Lizzie is entrapped by her own mind the more the story goes into somewhat of a state of frenzy. Watching this take place on stage is mesmerising. Bjorg’s performance is impeccable and the other three leads are all on par with her performance. I couldn’t fault any of them – each were different in their own way, often complimenting each other as well as contrasting with each other.
The cast and creative were absolutely incredible and I got the chance to take part in the Q&A session after the show. Here’s a link to a live feed I posted to my Facebook. Lizzie Q&A (not the best quality I apologise)
In the session they talked about how the show has been created and the different versions that has been produced over the years. This version featured an incredible international cast – Bjorg Gamst as Lizzie, Bleu Woodward as Alice, Eden Espinosa as Emma and Jodie Jacobs as Maggie. What was really nice to see was 4 amazingly strong women up there on the stage kicking some ASS, especially with the situation that’s going on at the moment across the pond and across the globe really. It felt very relevant and the use of rock music complimented this. It was a rebellion on stage. I loved every single moment of it and it was thrilling to watch. My favourite moments have to be the love story between Alice and Lizzie, Jodie Jacobs fantastic comedic portrayal of Maggie and my favourite songs would be – This Is Not Love, If You Knew, Maybe Someday, Will You Stay and Mercury Rising.
If you do manage to get any spare time on your hands I implore you to go and see this show. It is incredible. And please let me know what you think also.
Lizzie runs at the Greenwich Theatre until 12/03.2017.
Photo Credits – Soren Malmose