Lizzie at Greenwich Theatre
Directed by Victoria Bussert, this terrific Danish production of rock musical Lizzie is a tour de force of superb vocals, music, lyrics and choreography; the show is bursting with exuberant energy, macabre humour and heart. A feminist interpretation of the legendary case of the alleged axe murder by Lizzie Borden of her father, businessman Andrew Borden, and stepmother Abby, this piece highlights the misery, abuse and torment that may have precipitated the crime.
With a band on one side and a guitarist on the other, four firebrand divas dominate the stage with outstanding talent, wit and charisma and demonstrate – via a tale of oppression, exploitation and pain – soulful, pulling-no-punches rebellion. These ladies take no prisoners. They open the show in rock concert fashion with the powerful Forty Whacks and The House of Bordon, followed by Lizzie’s beautiful, heartbreaking This Is Not Love, which describes being raped by her father – he keeps her to himself “…chasing all the boys away…” and she dreams of escaping. Then as a smashing counterpoint to a moment of tender, childlike sadness, Gotta Get Out of Here is full of rage and fury. When her father chops off the heads of her beloved doves, Lizzie begins to snap “My world is growing darker, he is shutting out the light…” After the murder, the rousing What The Fuck Now Lizzie? expresses the protagonist’s sister’s horror and panic. With a touch of sinister Machiavellian madness, Lizzie is transformed, she has no more fear.
A humorous but earnest slant on a sad, gruesome story, the musical portrays Lizzie as a victim of brutality, an abused young woman who yearns for loving parents, driven to insanity and savagery. Although it is not known if the real Lizzie Borden was guilty or innocent, there is no ambiguity here, but there is tremendous sympathy for the protagonist. There are some outstanding performances: Bjorg Gamst is a remarkably talented, charismatic lead; Jodie Jacobs is fantastic and outrageously funny as Bridget Sullivan, the housekeeper; Edin Espinoza’s portrayal of Lizzie’s tough sister Emma Leonora is top notch; and Bleu Woodward excels as Lizzie’s endearing friend and lover Alice.
The narrative of this poignant version of a horrifying story is beautifully and clearly expressed using outstanding music, lyrics and choreography, and exceptional vocals. A standing ovation was well merited for this impressive and highly enjoyable performance.
Lizzie is at Greenwich Theatre from 22nd February until 12th March 2017, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Lizzie here: