Death Note The Musical In Concert ★★★★★ Lyric Theatre | September 7 - 10, 2023

Calling all manga mavens and animé aficionados! The classic Death Note is back in a new iteration. This time, Light and L battle it out in a captivating new musical. After extensive success in Japan and Korea, this production is testing the waters in London, and we predict it will be a big success. The story of the schoolboy and the super sleuth who engage in a battle of wits after the former discovers a notebook allowing him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it has been pared down, but the essentials are still here. The questions of law vs. justice, whether the ends can ever justify the means and the corruptive influence of power are all cleverly wrapped in a cat and mouse game played by the two protagonists. Plus, all of this is set in a context of the existential questions posed by the intervention in human affairs of the shinigamis, or death gods. The intriguing story moves along at a good pace, and Frank Wildhorn's score beautifully explores the themes. Songs like "We All Need A Hero" and "I'll Only Love You More" are standouts, wonderfully complementing the more intense numbers like "Where Is The Justice" and "Hurricane." Joaquin Pedro Valdes puts in a strong performance as Light, the student who is seduced by power and Dean John Wilson was charmingly quirky as the detective, L. As the obsessed Misa, Frances Mayli McCann hit just the right note, and Adam Pascal was a splendid Ryuk. Aimie Atkinson deservedly brought down the house with her rendition of "When Love Comes." This is a Death Note that will delight the already initiated and should create a whole new audience for the manga masterpiece.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior

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