3 posts categorized "Thriller" Feed

Hangmen review or how Johnny Flynn stole the show

590x494.fitandcropJohnny Flynn. Actor, musician; I've always had a bit of a soft spot. He's never had the breadth of roles of some of my favourite actors, often playing likeable, quiet, awkward types, but he's got a certain charm on stage. So plaudits for him and casting director Amy Ball who saw Mooney in Martin McDonagh's Hangmen in him.

Mooney is a southerner who walks into the life of  Harry (David Morrissey), Britain's second best hangman, who's from Oldham. He turns up in Harry's wife's pub where the locals take a bit of dislike to what they perceive as strange 'southern' ways but Harry's wife and daughter are charmed.

It is the genius of Martin McDonagh's writing, brought to life by Flynn, that Mooney is an enigma, just as you think you've got him sussed he does something to cast doubts in your mind. McDonagh rubs it in your face, has Mooney discussing the degrees by which he is weird, whether he is creepy or scary. It works beautifully, you sit up and take notice when he's on the stage, you want him on the stage so you can laugh and be a little bit uncomfortable at the same time.

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Review: Macabre comedy Grand Guignol, Southwark Playhouse

ImageThe nights are drawing in and the Grand Guignol in early 20th Century Paris is drawing in the crowds for its macabre and terrifying horror shows. Meanwhile outside on the streets of Monmatre a monster carries out his gruesome murders. 

Into this scenario steps eminent psychologist Dr Alfred Binet (Matthew Pearson) who is conducting a study of 'creatives': "Actors, playwrights, lunatics. They are all imminently fascinating to me."

And so it begins, a witches cauldron of horror, melodrama, satire and farce with a pinch of murder mystery added for good measure.

The actors at the Grand Guignol are pretentious and affected, the stage manager/props maker bossy and the owner of the theatre demanding in the pursuit of profit. The theatre's resident writer Andre De Lorde (Jonathan Broadbent) is a gentle soul but a slave to his craft and haunted by Edgar Allen Poe whom he relies on for inspiration (a terrifying Andy Williams complete with stuffed raven on his shoulder).

Later we meet the theatre critic Level (Andy Williams again). He is all that you imagine in this context but with a delightful twist.

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Caught in the Deathtrap

02493_show_portrait With a title like Deathtrap and a set that is a weapon-lovers wet dream, murder is a sort of given at some point in the evening.

Simon Russell Beale takes the lead of this Ira Levin comedy thriller as middle-aged playwright Sidney Bruhl struggling to re-find the creative genius that once earnt him his crust and made him famous: "Nothing recedes like success". 

Then he meets young aspiring playwright, Clifford who's written a brilliant and potentially lucrative play (Glee's Jonathan Groff and yes I am the only one on the planet who's never a single episode or even heard of him).

I can say no more because the programme asks not to reveal any of the plot. What I can say is that in Russell Beale's hands the play crackles with whip snaps of witty one-liners and digs at the world of theatre. The production is also at times suitably thrilling giving it the ingredients to be described aptly as, well, as a comedy thriller I guess.

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