Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story at the Greenwich
Following the success of its award-winning Edinburgh Festival Fringe run last year, Thrill Me starts its 2015 UK tour in London’s Greenwich Theatre. A highly successful musical boasting over 100 worldwide productions in 14 countries and in ten languages, Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story takes on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.
The book, music and lyrics are created by award-winning writer and composer Stephen Dolginoff. Its story is centred on two young, wealthy, intelligent men, based in 1920s Chicago. Both of them set to become law students and with bright futures ahead, each possessed by a different passion. While Nathan Leopold is obsessed with his friend and longs all of his attention and love, Richard Loeb constantly seeks the thrill of the crime, obsessed with Nietzsche’s philosophy and his notion of the Superman. Eventually, both of those passions meet in a legally binding contract; each of the two men agrees to do whatever the other one asks him to. Ultimately, believing that they are the epitome of the Superman Nietzsche writes about – superior to society and its common morals and laws – Leopold and Loeb decide to commit the perfect murder.
Gripping from its beginning, Thrill Me is told in a series of flashbacks. Leopold acts as the narrator: attending his parole hearing in 1958, he recalls the events that led to the murder that threw him in prison. Brilliantly directed by Guy Retallack, this is a haunting musical that manages, in less than two hours, to fully examine the nature of an all-consuming, obsessive relationship. However, as Thrill Me relies on only two acts to fill its stage and tell its story – these are what define the whole musical and turn into its strongest point. Jo Parsons and Ben Woods have great chemistry and manage to effortlessly get under the skin of their characters. Woods conveys Richard’s charismatic, enthralling persona with an ease that grips the viewer, while Parsons gives an inspiring performance as his accomplice. Their singing is simply delightful, making the whole experience one not to be missed.
Thrill Me is the kind of production that boasts catchy songs, capable of haunting one’s mind almost for as long as the dramatic events of its story. It is in this symbiosis of effortless musical numbers and profound philosophical ideas that the show finds its main strength, boosted by mesmerising performances.
Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story is on at Greenwich Theatre from 11th until 18th April 2015, for further information or to book visit here.