If you’re a musical theatre fan, Murder Ballad is a great opportunity to see some astounding voices in a (relatively) intimate setting.
The rock score is good, with really nicely written hooks that repeat throughout to tie everything together. Its easily a score I’ll listen to again.
Of the performers, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt was the standout for me. Impeccable throughout, her clear, strong vocals were well cast for the role of narrator to guide us through. Her voice was well-suited to the musical, having both the grit to pull off rockier numbers, but also the diction to carry the story.
The staging also carried off this merging of genres well, giving off a ‘concert’ vibe with its stark set and backlit walls – which could be raised up to reveal the live band (guitar, keyboard, drums).
However, if you’re not a huge fan of the genre generally, I’d give this one a miss.
While the music is accesible, Murder Ballad is fully sung through, which could be tough for those who find the concept of spontaneously singing about your life odd. It also means the story can be hard to follow, which I found to be the case near the beginning, leaving me a little unsure about the characters’ motivations during the climax.