Theatre review: Nosferatu’s Shadow

editorial image
Share this article
0
Have your say

A commanding performance by Michael Daviot of his own script drives this absorbing one-man show. A commanding performance by Michael Daviot of his own script drives this absorbing one-man show. A commanding performance by Michael Daviot of his own script drives this absorbing one-man show.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18)

Max Shreck, by all rights, should have been entirely forgotten. His most famous (actually, only famous) role was that of Count Orlok in FW Murnau’s 1922 silent classic, Nosferatu, a film that should have been destroyed after Bram Stoker’s widow successfully sued the producers for infringement of copyright. Instead, he is now an iconic image instantly recognisable from T-shirts and posters all over the world. Yet, about the man himself we know almost nothing – for years some silent film historians even theorised that “Shreck” was the pseudonym of an unknown actor as it means “terror” in German.

Daviot rectifies this, resurrecting the man who worked with Brecht and performed in anti-Nazi Weimar cabarets – bravely, even after Hitler came to power. It’s consistently interesting and never dry as Daviot, whose faint German accent never wavers, impressively establishes a rapport with the audience and compels their attention by impressively contorting his body to demonstrate the variety of characters that can be evoked through expressionistic acting and forays into song. This is a valuable biography: a tribute to one great actor from another.

Until 28 August. Today 9:35pm.

Click here for more reviews from the Edinburgh Festival

Click here for news from the Edinburgh Festival

Click here for guides from the Edinburgh Festival