THEATRE REVIEW: Berberian Sound Studio ★★★

Berberian Sound Studio
Donmar Warehouse, London
Friday 8th February - Saturday 30th March 2019

Based on the 2012 film written by screenwriter Peter Strickland, Berberian Sound Studio centres around Gilderoy (Tom Brooke), who has been brought in especially after being spotted by his nature documentaries, to provide the sound effects for a horror film, with the 1970s setting.

Running at 90 minutes, the play starts with a slowburn, though would account for it being very humourous, as Gilderoy enters the studio for the first time and is greeted by his Italian team of foley artists, actresses, and the eccentric and mysterious producer, Francesco (Enzo Cilenti), who accompanies to Gilderoys needs to brushes aside his visitors need to be reimbursed from his flight over.

Brooke is fascinating throughout the whole production, who rarely leaves the stage, and even in the quieter moments, particular in a moment eating a roll with Silvia (Lara Rossi) after a late night in the studio, the silence on stage still evokes humour from the audience due to the chemistry and thought process you can visually see from the performers.

Santini (Luke Pasqualino), the mysterious director, who enters the story during the latter parts of the play and shoots down Gilderoys belief that he is making a horror film, sadly lacks the conviction of the mystery that we are lead to believe until the moment he arrives. Calm and collected, Pasqualino still brings a side to Santini that comes across uneasy, but with so much buildup to his arrival surrounding his horrific methods of producing his movies, the image created in our heads sadly does not convey to the character in which Pasqualino portrays.

Anna Yates and Tom Scutts vision in design is mesmerising as the sound studio is visible on stage with so much detail being the true star of the whole production. Ben and Max Ringham's composition and sound design is equally eery and unsettling, with the live recordings of the foley artists Massimo (Hemi Yeroham) and Massimo (Tom Espiner) truly astonishing and brings a sense of creativity to try working with everyday objects in the same sense of producing sound effects at back at home.

Overall, Joel Horwood (Writer) and Tom Scutt's (Director and Designer) adaption of this 2012 horror film transfers almost perfectly on stage with a chilling sound design and compelling storyline, but sadly the build-up goes out on damper.


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