Bury the Hatchet
The Hope Theatre, London
Seen July 28th, 2018
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Outside of my theatre life, there is nothing I love more than watching crime documentaries (especially BuzzFeed Unsolved!). After all, I spent 5 years of my life studying Law and Psychology. Delving into criminal mysteries became the norm for me. So I was super excited when I saw the story line for Bury the Hatchet.
There is still an unsolved murder from 1892 which had the main suspect acquitted. The murder of Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby Borden, occurred 126 years ago to the date of writing this review, August 4th 1892. The main suspect was Andrew Borden’s younger daughter, Lizzie Andrew Borden. This case was unique in providing an insight into the flaws of forensic investigation at the time as this case was ultimately dropped as there was insufficient evidence in order to secure a conviction.
Bury the Hatchet has a very unique way in retelling this story with an injection of some folk music here and there. It was delivered as a documentary yet had a very raw appearance.
Let’s just jump straight in with the biggest down fall and in fact, my only real criticism of the show. I personally feel this raw appearance let the performance down. I couldn’t help but feel there was no real thought in the delivery or preparation. Throughout the show there was a lot of jumping around. The three characters continuously jumped into various different historical reenactment roles which made it rather tricky to stay up to speed with the story being played out in front of you. I occasionally found myself confused as to what time period we were viewing: was it still the historical reenactment or had we leaped forward back into the present day retelling of the story? Whilst watching the show I could see that this disorganised element could be easily rectified in a number of ways.
Taking this out of the equation, I did enjoy the show. It is very rarely you see a play of this nature. I certainly cannot fault the cast. They were incredible and worked wonders with what they had in that room. The harmonies definitely stood out for me. I loved how the addition of music was intricately woven into the story and that it was actually relevant and fitting. The use of the limited number of instruments really transported you back to 1890’s Massachusetts.
I am always intrigued when writers perform their written work. Sarah Wilson did this for Bury the Hatchet. Not only was the writing factual and interesting but the way Sarah delivered this was engaging. The addition of Joseph Prowen and David Leopold only added to this. Chemistry is something I always look for in a cast and the chemistry seen on stage was strong enough to build Andrew ad Abby Borden’s tomb! I really admire the comedy dotted throughout. Although the whole show was scripted, the comedy never seemed forced. This was helped by the fact that Sarah, Joseph and David were able to bounce off each other effortlessly.
I am very glad I managed to see this show and it will be great to see where this goes in the future. I can wholeheartedly say that there is potential and with a budget and larger venue, this will be reached.
Bury the Hatchet is at The Hope Theatre until August 11th. Tickets ind information can be found here.