Noir at Kings Arms
Fim Noir is a stylistic and evocative genre which started during the Second WorldWar, continuing until the late fifties, with a darker and more pessimistic look at the world. Often incorporating either a down on his luck private eye (Philip Marlowe being one of the more famous) or hard nosed detective they msoved away from the brightly lit films of the thirties and into the shadows of the war years.
Bringing the feel and style of film noir to the theatre seems like an impossible task, but the talented Vertigo Theatre have grabbed it by the horns and created a stylish and stunning theatrical representation of the genus.
Veronica Smart is thirty six years old, married to Cliff and has an ambition to be a Hollywood star. Unfortunately after sixteen years of trying, she is no closer to her desire. Finding her husband in a compromising position with his secretary, is the final straw. She gets a job teaching art to students at the local high school and the descent into the darkness begins
Sixteen year old Jimmy Flynn is attracted to his beautiful teacher and Veronica becomes his seductress. Completely in her thrall, he allows himself to be manipulated and agrees, against his better will, to do the darkest deed of all.
Taking on her first leading lady role with Vertigo, Emma Morgan plays the gorgeous mistress of manipulation with great skill and conviction. The tiny smiles as things go her way are enough to send a chill down the spine. Danny Clifford is excellent as the maligned husband Cliff, while Vertigo stalwart Richard Allen is superb as the rebel with a heart Jimmy Flynn.
The rest of the cast are equally as strong and Stuart Reeve's Detective Sal Pellatier provides a narration which leads the plot, while remaining the slightly shadowy figure to the side. The staging here is particularly effective. Anna Hickling is impressive as the school mouse Vivien Pierce and her growing up being heightened by events is hard to watch.
Writer/Director Craig Hepworth has taken a medium not known for it's theatrical productions, and created a show which grips you and pulls you along while weaving a plot which any major film studio would be proud of. This is another excellent production from one of the leading lights of the Manchester fringe.
By Helen Jones for Canal St Online
Published: 24-Nov-2017 (4643)