An archive of arts writing by Neil Cooper.
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Steven Severin – Vampyr
Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh Thursday January 12th 2012 3 stars
The man with the flowing white hair walks towards a small table and
chair to one side of the Cameo's big screen. Sporting a long black
winter coat and carrying a glass of red wine, the man looks as if he's
stepped in from another, altogether darker age of shadows and light.
Especially when juxtaposed against the shiny silver Macbook perched on
the table which he sits himself down before. Such a clash of time-zones
may be accidental, but it's the perfect introduction to former Siouxsie
and the Banshees bass player Steven Severin's contemporary live score
for Vampyr, Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1932 study in parasitic possession,
in which young fogey Allan Grey blank-walks his way into saving the
lives of a pair of once-bitten sisters.
Because Severin's use of brooding synth shards that ooze in and out
provides a delicious counterpoint to Dreyer's consciously over-egged
visual signifiers, which bridge Victorian melodrama and high-end
expressionism. Ushered in by bells, a recurring theme for Allan, and
even some dance-band jauntiness, Severin's latest score in his Music
For Silents series following treatments of works by Germaine Dulac,
Robert Wiene and Jean Cocteau lends even more menace than Wolfgang
Zeller's original in an intensely brooding and at times
sepulchral-sounding affair, that's wholly serious in intent and
Two sisters sit in glass cases either
side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean
Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power.
Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap
thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either
way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of
their own making.
Once the sisters come to life and drape
themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they
raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags
and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they
aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as
played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing
narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal
classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of
Slabs of sound slice the air to
punctuate each scene of Mart…
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman.
The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as
writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a
supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing
Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As
an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which
we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part
of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.
These are both pretty good reasons why
Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival
Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens
next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the
world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the
potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for
Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho
Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…
Everything is black and white in Alan
Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian
future where men and women are segregated from each other following
the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the
secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to
life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of
touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old
Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that
reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends
with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings.
Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's
institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex,
which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.
With both plays told through the
siblings' diaries alongside ass…