Tag Archives: Sara Poyzer

Assassins

Assassins

★★★★★

Watermill Theatre

Assassins

Assassins

Watermill Theatre Newbury

Reviewed – 30th September 2019

★★★★★

 

“knocks the socks off the original cast recording”

 

“Attention must be paid”. Towards the end of his musical ‘Assassins’, which had a triumphant performance at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury last night, the legendary Stephen Sondheim quotes this line from Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’.

‘Assassins’ is a musical that asks just exactly what would make ten Americans want to kill eight Presidents, from Lincoln to Reagan. The answer lies in that quote, which neatly also describes the audience’s rapt concentration during a quite extraordinary show. And if you are thinking that the killing of presidents and the fate of their would-be assassins is a rather macabre subject for a musical, be re-assured. Although it carries a 14+ advisory, this is an altogether entertaining and most thought-provoking show.

The Watermill has a history of championing eight times Tony award-winning Sondheim, whose work is held in such awe that even the most august critics are reduced to scrabbling autograph hunters in his presence. ‘Assassins’ is by no means his best-known work, but it is perhaps his most intriguing.

Not long into the piece, which had its premiere off-Broadway in 1990, the character of the Balladeer (here played with great presence and likeability by Lillie Flynn) sings “Every now and then the country goes a little wrong. Every now and then a madman’s bound to come along” And if you are thinking that line has more than a little resonance today, I suspect Sondheim would agree with you.

Space is tight at the Watermill, making any performance an intimate and involving experience. Director Bill Buckhurst has cleverly used a Coke machine to replace the fairground shooting gallery specified in the script, and Simon Kenny’s set design is starkly effective, with some ingenious twists towards the end.

It’s a little invidious to highlight standout performances in such a tight ensemble work, but several deserve special mention. Steve Simmonds’ has two brilliantly intense monologues as Samuel Byck, who planned to hijack a 747 to kill Nixon. Zheng Xi Yong gives a sinuous and wonderfully committed performance as Giuseppe Zangara who attempted to assassinate FD Roosevelt.

Evelyn Hoskins (Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme) and Sara Poyzer (Sarah Jane Moore) have some excellent scenes. Poyzer plays a cookie ex-Fed, nicely contrasting with Hoskins’ weed-toting take on mass-murderer Manson’s moll. Eddie Elliott has a powerful charisma as Charles Guiteau, especially in the difficult key-changing number he sings so brilliantly just before his character walks to the gallows. Joey Hickman has a menacing glassy-eyed demeanour as the Proprietor of this captivating parade of human failings. Alex Mugnaioni is eerily compelling as ‘the pioneer’ – the first Presidential assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Ned Rudkins-Stow has the task of bringing to life John F Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The traumatic impact of this murder on the American mindset resonates to this day, and Rudkins-Stow’s lean interpretation makes it crystal clear that Oswald was a simple-minded victim of manipulation.

Catherine Tyler is responsible for the compelling orchestration, which makes the most of the entire cast’s astonishing musical abilities, requiring some of them to play one instrument whilst holding another, and to jump seamlessly from drums or keyboard to appearing centre stage. Expert choreography by Assistant Director Georgina Lamb ensures it all works smoothly.

This version of ‘Assassins’ knocks the socks off the original cast recording and is strongly recommended.

 

Reviewed by David Woodward

Photography by The Other Richard

 

Assassins

Watermill Theatre Newbury until 26th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Burke & Hare | ★★★★ | April 2018
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | ★★★★ | May 2018
Jerusalem | ★★★★★ | June 2018
Trial by Laughter | ★★★★ | September 2018
Jane Eyre | ★★★★ | October 2018
Robin Hood | ★★★★ | December 2018
Murder For Two | ★★★★ | February 2019
Macbeth | ★★★ | March 2019
Amélie | ★★★★★ | April 2019
The Importance Of Being Earnest | ★★★★ | May 2019

 

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Mamma Mia – New Cast Announced

SARA POYZER, KATE GRAHAM & JACQUELINE BRAUN TO PLAY DONNA, TANYA & ROSIE IN

“MAMMA MIA!”

AT LONDON’S NOVELLO THEATRE
FROM MONDAY 12 JUNE 2017

AS “MAMMA MIA!” CELEBRATES ITS 18TH LONDON BIRTHDAY BOOKING EXTENDS TO 3 MARCH 2018

 

Fresh from playing Donna Sheridan in the first ever UK Tour of global smash hit musical MAMMA MIA!, Sara Poyzer is delighted to be playing the role at London’s Novello Theatre from Monday 12 June 2017, along with fellow Dynamos, Kate Graham as Tanya and Jacqueline Braun as Rosie.

Creator/Producer Judy Craymer is also delighted to be able to announce, on the eve of the musical’s 18th birthday in London (6 April 2017), that the booking period in London will extend to 3 March 2018, with tickets on sale from Friday 7 April 2017.

Sara Poyzer’s other recent stage work includes Janet in Northern Broadsides’ UK Tour of Jonathan Miller’s production of Rutherford & Son and Billy’s Mum in Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre, London). Kate Graham’s other West End credits include Cherry in Sam Mendes’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre). Jacqueline Braun previously played Rosie in the first UK Tour of MAMMA MIA!. She has also played the key roles of Eponine in Les Misérables and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar in Germany and Killer Queen in We Will Rock You in Switzerland.

From Monday 12 June, Georgina Castle will be promoted from the ensemble and First Cover Sophie Sheridan, to playing the role in her own right. She will be joined by Christopher Jordan-Marshall, making his West End debut as Sky. Also new to the cast of MAMMA MIA! from 12 June will be Bobbie Little as Ali, Harriet Bunton as Lisa, Damian Buhagiar as Pepper and Nye Rees as Eddie, with Caroline Deverill playing the role of Donna Sheridan at certain performances. They will be joining Richard Trinder, who plays Sam, Alasdair Harvey who plays Harry and Dugald Bruce-Lockhart who plays Bill.

From West End to global phenomenon, MAMMA MIA! is Judy Craymer’s ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise. To date, it has been seen by over 60 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages grossing more than $2 billion at the box office. In 2011, it became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China. MAMMA MIA! is currently on its first ever UK Tour, receiving great critical and public acclaim.
MAMMA MIA! originally opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999, before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. The musical re-opened at the Novello Theatre in 2012.
The London production of MAMMA MIA! has been seen by nearly 8 million people, played over 7,500 performances and has broken box office records in all three of its London homes.
With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material & arrangements by Martin Koch.
MAMMA MIA! is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East & Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.

 

www.Mamma-Mia.com

Photo by Brinkhoff M Âgenburg