Death Note the Musical in Concert at the London Palladium Review: An Ambitious and Engaging Evening

Tuesday 22 August 2023

a testament to the creative team's dedication to translating the essence of Death Note to the stage"

Death Note the Musical (Concert) 
London Palladium

In its first ever English language performance Death Note the Musical in Concert provides an engaging experience, that beautifully combines a concert style show with the allure of a full-fledged production, including captivating staging, meticulously designed costumes, and expertly executed choreography. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Death Note franchise, which originated as a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, this musical adaptation pays homage to the rich history and context of the source material.

The exceptional cast, which include remarkable talents such as Frances Mayli McCann as Misa Amane, Dean John Wilson as L, Aimie Atkinson as Rem and Adam Pascal as Ryuk, deliver performances that breathe life into the characters. Their portrayal of the characters showcasing both their impressive vocal prowess and their deep understanding of the emotional complexities within the story which questions morality, justice and power.

While the storyline can be a bit challenging to follow, particularly for those not acquainted with the original Manga, the production's sleek execution manages to pack in a lot without feeling overwhelming. The adaptation skilfully navigates the intricate plot points, a testament to the creative team's dedication to translating the essence of Death Note to the stage.

The translation of various elements from the manga to the stage is nothing short of impressive in this truly ambitious concert debut. The show's director, Nick Winston, and the rest of the creative team, including choreographer Alexzandra Sarmiento and costume designer Will Skeet, deserve commendation for their remarkable work in seamlessly integrating these elements into the live performance. The audience's palpable elation is a testament to the success of this collaborative creative endeavour.

The pre and post-show buzz, along with the audience's enthusiastic reactions, clearly indicate that Death Note the Musical has found its niche. Wonderfully, it manages to attract those who might not typically be drawn to musicals, thanks to its connection to the established Death Note franchise and the efforts of the cast and creatives. This broad appeal speaks volumes about the production's ability to engage and captivate diverse audiences.

Admittedly, the sound balance did exhibit some issues on opening night, which can be expected with such an ambitious score. While it occasionally detracted from the overall experience, it's understandable for a complex production. Once the sound balance is finely tuned, there's no doubt that this show will achieve the impactful resonance it aims for.

Death Note the Musical in Concert at the London Palladium showcases the successful fusion of storytelling, outstanding performances, and production design. By highlighting the talents of the cast, and thanks to the creative vision, the musical celebrates the legacy of the Death Note franchise while crafting a unique and captivating theatrical experience. The show's potential to become an unforgettable sensation is evident, and with further refinements, it's poised to leave a lasting mark on the world of musical theatre and is a must see for fans of the source manga.

Reviewed on Monday 21st August 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Mark Senior

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}