Theatre review: Nocturnes

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: It’s the kind of piece that’s probably only possible with a reasonable amount of funding: an original black-and-white 1950s-style thriller plays on a cinema screen.

ZOO (Venue 124)


In front of it three performers, in casual clothes, deliver all the dialogue, live, as on-screen versions of themselves, looking like Grace Kelly, James Stewart and a host of supporting “character actors”, lip sync along.

Initially the story has a Rear Window-esque quality to it, as it follows two secret agents holed up in a room in post-war Berlin. The fusion of film and live action is an extremely interesting conceptual device, which enables dual realities to exist simultaneously: one in the recording studio type set-up on stage, and the other in the more constructed world of the celluloid images.

A relationship inevitably develops between the male and female protagonists, albeit one that favours icy veneers over the glorious romantic chemistry of Hollywood’s most famous on-screen partnerships. But as Simon Wainwright’s excellent imagery and sound stutter and break, reality is deconstructed in a way that has more in common with a David Lynch film. Experimental style is ultimately more of a focus than the content within this, but a disconcerting conclusion is both unsettling and thrilling to watch.

Until tomorrow. Today 5pm.