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A play to see…

Photo:  Manuel Harlan

By GTO Carlie Newman

DOUBLE FEATURE****(Hampstead Theatre, London until 16.3.2024)

While the idea of a double feature of the two plays side by side is a good conceit, I am not sure if the two stories really have enough in common to warrant the overlap.  Using the same time structure – just like the new musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge – we have parallel scenes with frequently overlapping dialogue and characters even sharing the exact same space on stage.

It’s Los Angeles in the 1960s.  We see the actor Vincent Price (played by Jonathan Hyde) arriving for dinner with Michel Reeves (Rowan Polonski), the 24-year-old director of the film Witchfinder General, the horror film in which Vincent Price is starring.

At the same time in a completely separate storyline Tippi Hedren (Joanna Vanderham), arrives in a Suffolk cottage for an evening rehearsal with the director Alfred Hitchcock (Ian McNeice) for his film Marnie.



Hitchcock fancies the lovely young blond former model and makes it quite plain that part of Tippi’s job is to go to bed with him.  Her reaction to his proposition forms the heart of their scenes together.  Will she risk losing her career by saying no, or should she abide by her principles and refuse her boss?

Vincent Price comes to tell his director that he is quitting the movie as Reeves humiliates him in front of others on the set.  Reeves pleads with him to remain as the film is his big chance.

The two pairs of actors react to each other while completely oblivious to the other pair on stage.  They look the part and give good interpretations of the famous actors and directors portrayed. Some good dialogue from the writer John Logan and uniformly good acting under Jonathan Kent’s direction.  It almost works as a dual delight but doesn’t quite get there.
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