Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre | Review


Lizzie
Greenwich Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 24th February 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

I've been finding it very hard to write this review because I honestly don't know what I thought of Lizzie. There were parts I loved and parts I didn't but overall I was kind of confused. 

I suppose that could be seen as a good thing though. The show seems to get more disjointed as Lizzie's own mind gets more confused and crazy so it seems natural that after a well told story I, as an audience member, should leave feeling affected by the characters. So maybe confusion is a good thing?

Funny story, when I first saw this advertised quite a few months ago, I thought it was my wildest dreams coming true with Lizzie, meaning Lizzie McGuire... I was very wrong! The aforementioned Lizzie is in fact Elizabeth Andrew Borden who allegedly killed her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892. Whilst it's not the obvious choice of storyline, it works well with the rock music and insane lighting. 

The show has recently finished a run in Denmark and has now made the transition to the Greenwich Theatre in London where it feels more like an arena concert than a stage show. There are minimal props so we are really able to focus on the story and impeccable voices of the four leads. The show opens with an eerie music-box tune which sets the dark, suspense filled show up perfectly. The powerhouse vocals are out of this world, with the ladies belting higher and higher with perfect technique throughout. The lyrics by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Tim Maner are cleverly tweaked and shaped depending on what's happening in the scene or in Lizzie's mind.

The cast are sublime with each woman holding her own and commanding the space. Bjorg Gamst as Lizzie Borden is impeccable, switching from innocence and sweetness to sheer and utter madness. Her eyes portray a thousand emotions and every movement she makes shows her transition to the manic killer who is truly revealed in act 2. Her sister, played by musical theatre royalty, Eden Espinosa, really comes into her own in act 2 and shows off her superb voice wonderfully. I previously saw Jodie Jacobs in 27: The Musical and was blown away by her killer voice. As Bridget Sullivan she gets to show off that voice again but also provides humour in this otherwise dark drama, often indirectly telling Lizzie to kill her parents in witty ways. Although it is unclear what her motivation for this is, she does it very well. Alice Russell, Lizzie's friend is played greatly by Bleu Woodward who again has a stunning voice and works very well with the other ladies. Her performance is tasteful and delicate and often provides a nice contrast to the loud, rage filled numbers in the show.

The lighting fit well with the erratic feeling but I felt at points it was too much with the lights and smoke covering up a lack of plot and coherence. My opinion is that with some developments and tweaks this could be a wonderful production. The cast are there, the songs are there and the basic ideas are there but it need to be refined to make it really flow. Again, the roughness does fit with with the story but to me it felt more like a piece of performance art than a show to come and just sit in your seat watching. If it's going to be performed like this then it would be good to somehow incorporate more audience interation, like at a rock concert.

However, Lizzie is a fun show and its wonderful to see a performance led solely by women. With a few tweaks this could be something incredible. I would still go and see it if you can because I guarantee it'll be like nothing you've ever seen before, and the vocals will blow you away!

Lizzie runs at the Greenwich theatre until March 12th 2017

photo credit: Soren Malmose