Reviewed by Sophie Ross
24th February 2016
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
It’s fair to say that a trip to see Lizzie The Musical, won’t be your average night out to the theatre. Making it’s UK debut at the Greenwich Theatre, it tells the story of a suspected murderess in the victorian era. The book, written by Tim Maner takes a real life case and tells it through the use of song explaining the many theories of this morbid tale.
In the house of Borden, not everything is well. The show follows Lizzie and her sister Emma who live with their father and stepmother, an arrangement that they are not comfortable with. Abused by her father and finding out that his will has changed much to their stepmothers favour, it’s breaking point for Lizzie. Her sister leaves town and therefore she takes charge leaving her with blood on her hands (but not on her dress). Suspicions arise from Maid Bridget (also known as Maggie) and Alice, the Borden’s neighbour/admirer of Lizzie and comes down to who will keep the bloody secret?.
The show feels like you’ve stepped into a rock concert with minimal staging, therefore relying solely on the music to tell the story. At stage’s during the show you feel as if you should be standing in a mosh pit at the front of the stage rather than sitting in a theatre style situation. With a live band at the side of the stage at all times, the cast make the use of handheld microphones for the majority of the show which gave it a real rocky edge.
Act one had a slight feel of confusion and took us a while to get into the swing of what was happening. If you’re not solely giving your full attention into what the dialogue is trying to convey, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Act two felt more relaxed/natural as the girls undergo a transformation which allows their characters to develop. At times, the lighting was a little overwhelming and somewhat blinding but it’s used to create a perfect rock arena feel which fits with the theme of the show.
You can’t fault the talent from this powerhouse foursome. Danish actress Bjorg Gamst (Lizzie) makes a wonderful leading lady. Her character development from a shy, abused young girl transforms into a strong and confident woman. She carries the show well and has an amazing vocal to go with it. Eden Espinosa shines bright with incredible stage presence, stand out vocals and a powerful performance. She is charismatic and puts her all into her character. Jodie Jacobs (Maggie) brings lightheartedness and humour to her role and is a big audience pleaser. Beau Woodward (Alice) shows the side of innocence and is a real contrast to the other three.
It’s refreshing to see something different and it’s guarranted to be a theatre experience that you won’t expect. The show is loud, in your face and pretty outragious but it’s something that you won’t have seen before.
Lizzie plays at the Greenwich Theatre until 12 March