Printable CopyASSASSINS
Hills Musical Company Inc
Stirling Community Theatre
Until 23 Nov 2019

Review by Luke Wagner

Only in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, would there be enough fodder for a full length musical about people who have tried, and in some cases succeeded, to assassinate a president. The Hills Musical Company have done a brilliant job in staging this bold and daring musical.

In 1865 John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in the Ford’s Theatre. Since then eight others have attempted to do the same to seven different presidents. These nine assassins now belong to an exclusive club of people who sought the infamy that came with carrying out an unthinkable act. Each assassin gets the opportunity to share their story.

Monique Hapgood and Macintyre Howie Reeves have directed a well-staged and well-balanced production with a brilliant cast. The production was pared back and simple, allowing the performers to be the central focus of this show – and it pays off. The set was simple scaffolding on the back of the stage with newspaper articles and photos of the presidents surrounding the proscenium.

The cast do an excellent job as an ensemble, but there are also some standouts in there too. David MacGillivray as John Wilkes Booth leads the assassins well and his story is told well. He has a commanding presence that makes him stand out in every scene he appears. Bronwen James is excellent as Sarah Jane Moore. Her role provides a great deal of comic relief, but her performance was incredible well balanced too, allowing her character to grow throughout the show. She paired very well with Casmira Hambledon as Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme. Laurence Croft, Tom Dubois and Robbie Mitchell also delivered consistent performances throughout, with memorable moments from each.

It can be challenging to deliver a show that deals with such deep subject matter and make it entertaining. “Assassins” doesn’t go full out comedy, but it does present these characters’ stories in an accessible, approachable manner. It allows the audience to hear the voice of those who have committed these crimes, as twisted and outrageous as some may be. This was an interesting concept well delivered by a good production team and talented cast.