Review by Sarah Gill.
Thrill Me – The Leopold & Loeb Story is currently being performed at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran, Melbourne as part of the The Midsumma Festival. The show is presented by Ghost Light in association with Moving Light Productions and the book, music and lyrics are written by Stephen Dolginoff.
Thrill Me is set in Chicago in 1924 and in Joliet Prison in 1958. It tells the story of the relationship between Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy and privileged young law students living in the 1920’s. In their time they became known to be the ‘thrill killers’ after kidnapping and murdering a young boy named Bobby.
The story follows Nathan’s point of view and is told through his recollection of the events leading up to the murder in 1924. He tells his story during his parole hearing in the Joliet Prison in 1958.
As the plot unfolds the audience watches the way Nathan and Richard interact with each other and we learn just how far Nathan will go to appease Richard, and how far Richard will go to appease his desire for the thrill and to be the ‘superior man.’
Through a series of songs and exposition the two reveal their inner most desires. Nathan wants Richard, and Richard wants to be superior in every way.
The two commit small crimes together like arson and burglary all to ignite the fire in Richard. He manipulates Nathan to help him with each of the crimes. Nathan follows Richard through it all, because he gets what he wants after the crime. He gets to be with Richard.
When Richard becomes bored with the smaller crimes he talks Nathan into helping him with the ‘ultimate perfect crime’, and the two devise a plan to kidnap and murder a random young boy.
The show depicts Nathan’s helplessness and complete devotion to Richard, as he believed he had no choice and had to follow him no matter what. It also illustrates Richard’s madness in that he genuinely believed he would not get caught because he was ‘a superior man.’
This is a captivating story and what makes it more intriguing is that it is based on true events. Through the 80 minute running time I was kept engaged and was completely taken in to the 1920’s with Nathan and Richard.
Thrill Me – The Leopold and Loeb Story is playing at Chapel Off Chapel as part of Midsumma from 20th – 31st January 2016.
Tickets available: https://www.outix.net/booktickets/event/ThrillMe