Jamie Lloyd’s updated version of Sunset Boulevard is a rather dark and miserable tale about Joe Gillis (Tom Francis) a young screenwriter hired by Norma Desmond an ageing Hollywood has-been to facilitate her comeback. Joe is not having much luck in Hollywood jobwise and seizes the opportunity to perhaps take advantage of Norma’s desire to return triumphantly to the big screen.
“This is an intense and sombre play, with some stellar performances”
It’s always interesting to see someone out of their comfort zone, in this case, pop Pussycat Nicole Scherzinger in a lead theatrical role. I’m not sure if Scherzinger had any dramatic training before her foray into music and dance but as far as I’m concerned she was born for the stage. Her natural dramatics, comic timing and powerhouse voice all made for perfect casting.
Everything is monochrome. From the cast costumes to the lighting to the film noir that is used as a backdrop often throughout the story. I did enjoy watching this technique -I’ve never seen it before. It almost made this a film/play hybrid. The camera follows the characters and was used for some amazing close-ups and lent itself well to the play being all about the film industry – the camera even follows Joe dancing and singing outside the theatre and coming back in onto the stage to fantastic effect.
Early on you can tell things are not going to end well for Joe, Norma is clearly crazy… and in love with him….but he’s in love with Betty (Grace Hodgett Young). This is an intense and sombre play, with some stellar performances. Afridiziak’s shout-out goes to Nicole Scherzinger, absolutely incredible performance.