Murderous psychopaths are entertaining to watch. With a body of literature that includes the American best-seller novel – American Psycho – and the strong public fascination of real-life crime; the psychopath is a unique character to study on film and stage. As a part of Midsumma Festival, the latest crime thriller production is showing at Chapel off Chapel – Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story.
Original written by Stephen Dolginoff and first produced in 2003, the production of Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story – which has been produced in 15 countries and in ten languages – has made its way to Melbourne. Based on the true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – the so-called “thrill killers” of Chicago in 1924 – the play offers a retrospective look at the motivations and complex relationship that lead to the murder of a young wealthy boy.
Starring Melbourne’s Vincent Hooper as Nathan Leopold and Sydney’s Stephen Madsen as Richard Loeb, the pair is a tour de force as they feed off one and another roles. The odd relationship that is Nathan and Richard is performed superbly, with issues of control, love and devotion playing a key theme throughout the performance.
An interesting aspect to this performance – if you don’t know much about it – is the fact that it’s a musical! It forces the audience to accept the general notion that musicals are not necessarily pigeon-hole as being positive and heart-warming. The 75 minute production includes a number of songs, and interesting allows the duo performance to ‘tap in’ to the emotion of the pair’s unsustainable drive to be thrilled and believe they are better than mere men. For some this might be confronting or uncomfortable – perhaps too close to the bone – but Hooper and Madsen’s singing is on point as it creatures this additional level of drama and intensity that can be felt throughout the scenes.
Produced by Lisa Minett and Directed by Terence O’Connell of Ghost Light – in association with Moving Light Productions – Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story is a chilling and raw performance of life in Chicago in the 1920s. It draws upon and firmly presses on the issues of homosexuality, boredom of rich kids and how far a person will go for true love. The performance is a power-house that will capture your total attention and leave you with questions when the final curtain has been drawn.
A play about singing psychopath killers gets 4 out of 5.
The Important Stuff
Venue: Chapel off Chapel, The Loft, 12 Lt. Chapel St. Prahran
Dates: Wednesday 20 January – Sunday 31 January 2016
Times: Wed-Sat @8pm, Sunday @ 5pm
Tickets: $35 Full, $30 Conc and Groups (6+)
Bookings: midsumma.org.au / Ph: (03) 9415 9819
Social media: Facebook / Instagram
For more information about THRILL ME: The Leopold & Loeb Story and to purchase tickets can be found here.