The Hills Musical Company’s Assassins by Stephen Sondheim is an engrossing production on a controversial topic that showcases some excellent local talent.
Assassins creates a deliberately uncomfortable theatrical experience. It portrays an array of disturbed, and now infamous, individuals and provides background to their motivation. This grim scenario is offset by dark humour, some unexpected comedic elements and spectacular vocals.
Directors Monique Hapgood and Macintyre Howie Reeves have created a taut, interesting and multi-layered offering. The cast is excellent – not only those in the leading roles but also the supporting ensemble.
Robbie Mitchell is in fine voice as the Balladeer providing the audience with backstories and judgements on the individual assassins before morphing into Lee Harvey Oswald. There are equally powerful acting and vocal performances from David MacGillivray (John Wilkes Booth), Dylan Rufus (John Hickley Jr), and Robin Schmelzkopf (Charles Guiteau). Tom Dubois gives a fine emotionally charged performance as Leon Czolgosz, and Laurence Croft is believably insane as the deranged Samuel Byck. Megan Donald and Megan Doherty take on male persona in the Proprietor and assassin Giuseppe Zangara respectively and do it well.
Casmira Hambledon as Charles Manson’s lover Lynette Fromme, and Bronwen James as Sarah Jane Moore are an unlikely, but very funny, double act in their failed attempts to assassinate their President.
Andrew Groch as Musical Director is to be congratulated on guiding the orchestra and singers through a challenging score. The voices are strong and powerful throughout.
Given the topic, the last thing I expected was to be humming a happy tune when I left but I was, and I heard others singing…Assassins
Hills Musical Company
Stirling Community Theatre