Lizzie: Rebellion - one axe-chop at a time

My ticket for this was provided by Fredericia Teater. My earlier reviews of shows can be found here and are all in danish. Please go to for more information on the show.

Fredericia Teater on "Lizzie": On a sweltering summer morning in 1892, in a small New England city, a prominent businessman and his wife were axed to death in their home. Their daughter Lizzie Borden was the prime suspect. Lizzie’s trial was a coast-to-coast media sensation, and her story has become an American legend.

Deep and dark in its sense of humour, aggressive and beautiful in its music: "Lizzie" is what you've been waiting for. At least if you've been waiting for a rock'n'roll musical which will send you flying on the wings of both its riffs and weighty drums. The music is a huge part of the quality but there is no doubt that the story and layers which are hidden within, are equally as fascinating. Lizzie grows up through the story and in the process she frees herself from both her abusive parents, her inhibitions and a culture that didn't leave much room for the individual. "Lizzie" is rebellion on several levels and when the music soars, it's this sense of rebellion that places a solid punch in the groin - almost as much as the music itself.


The four women on stage are all terrific singers as well as actresses. The show utilizes the four both when they're center stage and when they're lurking in the background. Sometimes they almost become part of the scenery - which doesn't sound like a compliment, but it very much is. Due to the effectively simplistic use of props, the four become important both as their specific characters but also on a more symbolic level. They each come to signify different emotional and human qualities, and their reactions to what's going on in a song which they are not actively part of, becomes almost as significant, as when they're actually singing.

As I mentioned all of these performers are great. I especially enjoyed Jodie Jacobs as Maggie, who is the funniest part of the show and who could have easily become annoying to a point where it would've been intrusive, happily that doesn't happen. Jacobs' vocal talents gives her performance the authority it needs. She is fiendishly clever and doesn't give two shit(e)s what anyone thinks. Eden Espinosa is fierce and there is no doubt that this character is strong-willed and has a heavy sense of right and wrong. Bleu Woodward as Alice is sweet, maternal and sings with a hint of country. She really shines in her big solo numbers like "Will You Stay?". Lizzie herself is performed by Bjørg Gamst who also played the part in the danish cast production back in 2014. Gamst is a great performer whom I've seen in several plays the last couple of years and I've yet to see her fail. The role of Lizzie has room for both subtlety and hysterics both of which require a lot of talent to deliver, not least through song.


"Lizzie" is a great show. It is choreographed with creativity and balances a simplistic aesthetic with complicated routines and some fun gimmicks. The women of this production are infinitely talented and delivers both raw energy and emotional vulnerability. All of it begins and ends with an awesome batch of songs which are both sexual, depraved and sometimes divinely beautiful. At the beginning of act II, Lizzie enters the scene with a pear. She lifts it into the air for all to see, and then gleefully takes a bite, blissfully chewing loudly. In that bite she brushes of the repression of her life and culture. She has found freedom, through terrible and bloody means. And though her actions have been brutal, it's hard not to feel like she deserves it.


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