2 items from 2015
No one has done a musical like this before, keeping an uneasy beat to craft a dark replica of scared community spirit in the wake of a shocking crime. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
When I hear that something deadly serious has been turned into a stage musical, the first thing that springs to mind is Elephant! the all-singing, all-dancing Broadway show based on the life of “Elephant Man” Joseph Merrick, within the comedy film The Tall Guy. Or, of course, Springtime for Hitler.
So when I heard that London Road, a film adaptation of a National Theatre musical production, is about a 2006 serial-murder case, my first reaction was: Hell no. The potential for getting this wrong is enormous: the probability of tonal imbalance between hammy dramatics and horrible crime is almost 100 percent.
- MaryAnn Johanson
“Everybody’s very, very nervous,” runs the most memorable lyrical refrain in “London Road,” and one imagines the filmmakers found themselves singing it often. An avant-garde musical based on the recorded testimonies of concerned residents following the Ipswich serial murders of 2006, Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork’s unique piece was a bold enough proposition for the U.K.’s National Theatre a few years ago, let alone for the bigscreen. Yet while Rufus Norris’ stage production was an unlikely triumph, its film adaptation — in the same helmer’s hands — emerges as something of a curate’s egg. Though performed with stalwart conviction by an ensemble including Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy, Blythe’s much-celebrated verbatim technique translates in surprisingly mannered fashion to camera, while Norris’ season-based visual treatment of the material cloys. Commercial appeal beyond Blighty is limited; even at home, this may prove a “Road” less traveled.
Local auds, »
- Guy Lodge
2 items from 2015
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