Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing and tells Margo and her friends a melancholy life story. Margo takes Eve under her wing, only to have Eve use her and connive against her.
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This is performed in the Noël Coward theatre and is an adaptation from the well known film. This story revolves around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Lily James). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Gillian Anderson) and tells Margo and her friends a melancholy life story. Margo takes Eve under her wing, only to have Eve use her and connive against her.
Since finding National Theatre Live: Obsession (2017-also reviewed) mesmerising,I've been keeping a look out for any future films by Ivo van Hove. Checking for the showing time at the oldest working cinema in the UK (The Electric in Birmingham) for Louis Malle's Black Moon (1975-also reviewed) (which was introduced by US singer Josephine Foster) I found out about a screening of Hove's latest production. Screening too late at The Electric,I found it was also soon being shown at The Midlands Art Centre in a few days,so I gathered money I had been given on my birthday,and got set to find out about Eve.
Note:Review has some spoilers.
View on the film:
Spending ages trying to get the rights, writer/director Ivo van Hove proves that it was worth the wait,with a remarkable blurring of the lines between cinema and theatre (all backed by PJ Harvey's simmering score.) Separating the stage layout into several sets,Hove attaches a large protector screen to the back of the set, and films (in real-time) private exchanges between characters in corridors,which are shown at the same time as with on-stage events (such as round a dining table) continue to unfold, creating a striking yin/yang between the sparkling glamour shown to the public, with the rotting obsessiveness to remain a "big name",that goes on behind closed doors.
Setting a make-up table in the centre of the stage, Hove peels into the psychological obsession Eve and Margo have over the other nabbing their spot, with the back screen being used for chilling practical special effects displaying the poisonous effect this obsession has on their very souls.Breaking the fourth wall with Addison DeWitt's opening introduction, Hove's adaptation of Mary Orr's short story and Joseph L. Mankiewicz screenplay brilliantly threads them into a shimmering stage version,via the bitter Margo's viper exchanges with up and coming Eve over keeping a grip of fame on the stage,taking place against a stage backdrop itself. Continuing the fourth wall breaks from Margo and Eve's entourage, Hove gradual sows Eve losing her Eden innocence and transforming into Margo, leading to an unsettling final note of this being a transferable venom.
Far from being a fading star, Gillian Anderson gives a mesmerising performance as Margo,whose sharp dialogue Anderson cuts through with a New York ice-pick, Anderson undresses Margo's psychological nuances in withering body language slumped against a piano singing out to stars falling out of her curled lip. Waiting fresh-faced at the stage door,Lily James gives a fantastic turn as Eve,whose growing manipulative edge on Margo, James subtly matches with a growing transformation into the reflection of her idol.
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