"A rocking cast"
-London Theatre-

"A stunning cast"
-The Stage-

"Best original rock musical"
-Broadway World-

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passion exploding from the cast

Critic Rating

4 October 2016, Arts Theatre
Guest Reviewer Guest Reviewer
The comforting, family-life side to love becomes entwined with the hot and steamy passionate side in Murder Ballad, the musical tale of a complicated love triangle between New Yorkers that is showing at the Arts Theatre in London for a limited run.

This sung-through musical is centred on Sara who is played with daring lust by Kerry Ellis, torn between her two lives – one with her loving, reliable husband Michael (Norman Bowman) and the other with the bad-boy ex-boyfriend, Tom (Ramin Karimloo).

When Sara breaks up her passionate on/off love affair with Tom, she falls straight into the arms of the trouble-free poetry student Michael, and the couple quickly move into together, get married and have a daughter. Family life soon begins to take its toll on the once carefree New Yorker however, and with ‘the one that got away’ still in the back of her mind, it doesn’t take long for Sara to start yearning for her past lover as she seeks to reignite the fire she once had with Tom.

Tom is played intensely by Karimloo, whose former role of the Phantom in the classic The Phantom of the Opera is reminiscent in some scenes; his exceptional acting, especially towards the end where desire and tensions rise, bring images of The Final Lair from Phantom to mind. Throughout, Karimloo's charisma on stage is almost tangible and the chemistry between he and Ellis, flawless.

Narrating the story is Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who pulls the book by award-winning Julia Jordan and music and lyrics by Juliana Nash brilliantly together in this intense and steamy tale of heartbreak, lust and love in the Big Apple. The score itself has varying moods to ensure that the sung-through music is veered away from the monotonous, and there are certain parts which brought up the hairs on my arms with the amount of passion exploding from the cast.

Abandoned dreams, the longing to fulfil them and a dangerous love triangle that could never end well are portrayed with complete conviction by the cast of Murder Ballad. This bold new musical that was once shown off-Broadway is unlike others I have seen recently, and the desire to see it again may have just taken hold of me…

Reviewed by Alice Bzowska.

London Theatre
It's not much of a plot, but Sam Yates's visually arresting production keeps our attention, and the cast sing their hearts out, kept on the move on a set that has two revolves and a set of busy screens that sometimes provide an over-obvious visual commentary to complement Victoria Hamilton-Barritt's aural one as the narrator.
Mark Shenton
Like American Idiot – which has played two successful seasons at the Arts Theatre on either side of an extensive national tour – Murder Ballad is a pumped-up new American rock opera. Though it contains rather less nihilistic rage and features an original score rather than being based on an existing album catalogue.
Broadway World
Murder Ballad is the best original rock musical London has seen in a long while. A classic storyline coupled with a catchy soundtrack makes for a killer combination; it'll keep you guessing until the final scene.
Daisy Bowie-Sell
But the cast are pretty much made for these songs and it is Victoria Hamilton-Barritt's Narrator that manages to keep us engaged over the 90 minute run time. She is an enigmatic delight, filled with attitude as she pouts and flouts her way around the stage, delivering the songs with beguiling sassiness.
Gay Times
This might be an age-old love story that divides the love of three people in unequal measure, but there’s a fresh splattering of life that shines throughout. Call it from the continuing 90-minute sung-through devise or the killer intentions, quite literally of this cast, there’s so much to enjoy.