Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story

Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story won the first Broadway Baby Bobby Award in 2014 as one of the most outstanding productions of that year's Festival Fringe. This current production has the same director, Guy Retallack, but is in a different venue with two new actors. It maintains the same high standards of its predecessor and is guaranteed to delight audiences again the year.

The rare combination of a fine musical and intense drama

Recent Arts Educational School graduates Ellis Dackombe and Harry Downes take on the roles of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold respectively, both making their professional debuts in this production. In two beautifully focussed performances they they successfully portray the complexities of their characters and deliver a chilling interpretation of two men with seriously disturbed minds.

The subject matter is unlikely material for a musical. It tells the true story of two highly intelligent young men from respectable, affluent families in Chicago who set out to commit the perfect crime. Loeb has become obsessed with the writings of Nietzsche and believes himself to be the superior man who is above the law. Having already committed a series of petty crimes of increasing gravity and fed his pyromania he now seeks an even greater thrill. Leopold, who is lovingly infatuated with him and desperately seeking sexual favours, becomes his accomplice, seemingly unable to go against anything he suggests. Events take a series of turns which finally lead to their arrest and conviction for the murder of a young boy they chose at random to give them the ultimate thrill.

Ellis Dackombe looks slick in his sharply cut suit. He menacingly portrays the disturbed Loeb in a cold and manipulative manner. Harry Downes demonstrates the weaknesses and vulnerability of Leopold yet hauntingly suggests that there is more going on his mind that might at first seem evident. They successfully establish the intimate yet strained relationship that exists between them. With musical direction by Kris Rawlinson, the keyboard accompaniment assists the changing moods and sustains the momentum of this show as the protagonists fine voices work through the score. The dark set and moody lighting also work wonderfully to enhance the depths of this plot.

Don't miss the opportunity to see this remarkable work that is sure to satisfy those who seek the rare combination of a fine musical and intense drama. You will be thrilled.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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★★★★
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The London Theatre

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★★★
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★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Chicago, 1924. Shocking true story of two law students who kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old boy in their desire to commit the perfect crime. Electrifying winner of the 2014 Broadway Baby Bobby Award returns to the Fringe this summer. A relationship fuelled by domination, manipulation and sexual pleasure is put under the spotlight in this captivating musical thriller. Nominated for ‘Best Off-West End Production’ (WhatsOnStage.com). 'There is no production more intelligent, atmospheric and haunting' ***** (Sunday Telegraph). Critic’s choice **** (Evening Standard). ‘Go straight out and buy a ticket’ ***** (Gay Times).