Killer musical Assassins featuring stories of misfits who targeted US presidents comes to Romford
PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:35 22 March 2019
A dark musical featuring the true stories of those who attempted to assassinate presidents of the United States is coming to Romford.
Stephen Sondheim’s witty musical Assassins about a group of maniacs and misfits is being performed at Brookside Theatre.
The musical delves into the lives of nine people who tried to kill American presidents in a twisted pursuit of the American Dream.
Nicola Gossip plays the role of Lynette Fromme who was obsessed with Charles Manson.
She told the Recorder: “Assassins is one of my favourite Sondheim musicals.
“The musical has quite a particular taste because of the way Sondheim composes his songs. They’re written as spoken songs rather than a song with a melody.
“Sondheim manages to incorporate the characters so well into the songs that he writes. It’s quite dark but also hilariously funny.”
Nicola’s character Lynette, also known as Squeaky because of her high-pitched voice, was part of the Charles Manson family.
“She served 34 years in prison for trying to assassinate Gerald Ford. She was basically obsessed with Charles Manson,” said Nicola.
“She had knife pouches on her arms and her legs and when she was arrested she had them under her dress too. Lynette spent a lot of time on drugs.
“There are a lot of people who see musicals to be cheered up, but there are other people - like me - who go to be informed.
“The attention to detail is great. [The director] has managed to get the actual replica of the guns that each character used.”
The 44-year-old actor from Enfield has played the role of Squeaky before and is looking forward to returning to the role.
Nicola said: “The songs are absolutely brilliant. My song is a duet with John Hinckley who was obsessed with Jodie Foster.
“It’s called Unworthy of Your Love and it shows the intensity of those characters really well. It’s a little bit like a love song with a dark twist.”
Another assassination attempt to kill president Ford came from Sara Jane Moore who is played by Harri Sepple.
Harri said: “She’s quite an interesting character. She was married five times and is quite scatty - she’s not what you would expect from an assassin.
“She had four children and was very religious.
“Originally she said she [tried to kill Ford] because she wanted to create chaos but then she went back and said that she hadn’t meant to kill anybody but she just wanted to make a statement.”
Harri who is also choreographing the performance, is returning to the stage at Brookside after a three year break.
“This is a role I really wanted to play,” she said.
“You’ve got nine assassins from all different eras from John Wilkes Booth who assassinated Abraham Lincoln to the most recent assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley.
“We try very hard not to make it too political. It’s more about the characters and their individual stories.”
“Sondheim is quite challenging for a performer because he’s renowned for putting in some strange music timing.
“This has attracted a very strong cast of performers to the show.”
Jai Sepple, director of the show, assured audiences that this musical about killers is also very funny.
He said: “That’s the first thing I hear from people — that a musical about assassinations cannot possibly be funny.
“In fact, it’s very funny. Albeit it is a dark, thought-provoking piece of theatre, it is also filled with quirky and off-beat historical characters meaning that the audience doesn’t get too drawn in to the darkness of the subject matter.
“We are truly excited to be presenting this show as it is rarely produced in the UK and we have been granted special permission by Stephen Sondheim himself to perform the show here in Romford.”
Assassins shows at Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road from Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27. Visit brooksidetheatre.com for tickets.
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