Helter Skelter, The Cockpit Theatre
Helter Skelter, a Beatles original, once described by Sir Paul McCartney as a song about a playground slide, represented a completely different meaning in the late 1960s and one which was the polar opposite of the innocence of a child’s playground.
Earlier this year, I visited The Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone to watch a rendition of The Manson Family murders, which took place in the late 1960s. The performance – due to visit Edinburgh Fringe in August – was produced by VETO Productions and brought to life by a diverse cast of aspiring actors.
The scene was set in a troubled 1960s America with a loud introduction to Susan Atkins aka Sadie’s homelife in California, where she lived with her abusive alcoholic dad (Joey Maragakis). Susan Atkins (Elanor Wood) was a key proponent in the Manson murders. Wood immediately captures Susan’s adolescence and desperation to a T. As the story progresses, we meet Linda Kasabian aka Kaz (Jackie Macatiag). A little more confident than timid Susan, Kaz stands out as being different, as if she knew right from wrong but regrettably chose to ignore her better judgement. Macatiag embodies a brash and quick-witted Kaz and as the story unfolds so does she: from a somewhat confident yet lost girl trying to find a way out of her struggles, to a vulnerable, scared shadow of herself in what one would describe as a living nightmare.
Charles Manson (Mike Narouei) was fascinating to watch, to say the least. How do you capture the essence of a murder-mastermind in 90 minutes? Narouei’s attention to detail and his ability to engage the viewers on Manson’s mannerisms and twisted personality was first-class, chilling, and thought-provoking.
The finale left me at the edge of my seat and in a state of disbelief. A harrowing performance of escapism, drug abuse and pure callousness brought back to life by a cast unafraid to push boundaries.
To view the full cast list for Helter Skelter, check out VETO PRODUCTIONS Instagram page here @vetoproductions