It is an absolute pleasure when you find such a powerful performance staged in one of the many fantastic “Off West End” Theatres spread across the Capital. The passion and professionalism can easily be overlooked by those who are not familiar with these venues.
Director Matthew Parker’s latest production at The Hope Theatre of Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb story by Stephen Dolginoff based on a true story about Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold the “thrill me” killers who murdered a young boy in 1924, in what they believed to be the way of proving they were “superior to all” is one these such finds.
It is an unusual harrowing theme to have been set as a musical as the audience become plunged deep into the minds and disturbing actions of the two young sociopaths Leopold and Loeb who are driven by the writing of Nietzsche. Loeb has been devouring his writings and quoting to Leopold. Where we discover “relationships can be murder”.
The narrator Leopold as pictured above played by Bart Lambert begins the story 34 years later after the events took place while he is in prison waiting for the fifth time for the parole board to grant him his release. Before the decision can be made they ask him to tell the truth about what really happened.
The storyline moves smoothly between Leopold’s narrative and the flashbacks exploring how the two men met and how and why their relationship develops. Whereas we discover only crime ignites Loeb’s passions. From the first sex-fuelled arson attack on an abandoned barn to burglary and their final act of murder.
The two actors have an incredible rapport on the stage. As they bring to life these two infamous criminals. While the rich and dense scripted musical leaves you with an unnerving edge combined with the macabre interest wanting to know how it ends.
Throughout the story, Loeb pictured above takes control and superbly manipulates Leopold dictating the sinister route this two take. Just how far will one person go in the pursuit of love?
A brilliant unforgettable moving performance. Where I would defy anyone not to leave the Theatre without feeling moved by this disturbingly dark, sinister and fantastic production.
Bart Lambert-Nathan Leopold
Jack Reitman-Richard Loeb
Director Matthew Parker
Musical Director-Tim Shaw
Lighting Designer-Chris McDonnell
Sound designer-Simon Arrowsmith
Stage Manager-Emily Walters
Accent Coach-Dewi Hughes
Assistant Director-Toby Hampton.
Photo credit to photoshoots
Playing from the 2nd-20th April 2019.
207 Upper Street