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The Independent Culture
Adam House Theatre (venue 34), 5 Chambers St (0131-650 8200), 3.30pm; to 26 Aug

What's really puzzling about Assassins is not that it flopped so spectacularly, but that it actually managed to slip through the commercial and ideological net and make it to off-Broadway at all. In this subversive tale of the 13 displaced patriots who took it upon themselves to kill the president, Sondheim has found a powerful, scathing and deliciously melodic antidote to the American Dream. John Wilkes Boothe opens the proceedings with a tirade against the dictatorial Lincoln and we end on the most notorious assassin of them all, Lee Harvey Oswald, in full-throated ease at the Dallas Book Depositary. Along the way we encounter the most bizarre attempt: drifter Samuel Byck's plan to wipe out Nixon by hijacking a jetliner and crashing it into the White House. Sondheim's verbal dexterity and musical prowess shine in a shoestring, but very presentable production by Northern Theatre Co.

John O'Mahony