Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story (until 25 August at 20:55. C Venue 34). Julia Pascal.

 

The motiveless crime fascinates us.  Murder for murder’s sake challenges all our conditioning and leads us into our uncivilised self.  This musical play focuses on the 1924 crime committed in Chicago by Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold.  Loeb and Leopold were law students, mutually attracted to each other and in the unlawful desires to commit crimes just for the pure hell of it.  They move from pyromania to murder.  The narrative traces the couple’s Nietszchian journey into the destruction of a small boy as a kind of erotic folie a deux.  This true story inspired the 1948 Hitchcock movie Rope.

There are fabulous performances from Jo Parsons as Loeb and Danny Colligan as Leopold in Guy Retallack’s gripping production.  James Turner’s design is beautifully sparse and is well served by Richard Williamson’s nuanced lighting design.  There is a strong text from Stephen Dolginoff whose music and lyrics, are punched out with massive energy by Tom Turner.  However, the music is so monotonous that the cumulative effect is numbing.  The actors and text thrilled me, the music and lyrics did not.

Julia Pascal © 2014.