THE LOVE SONG OF ALFRED J HITCHCOCK
by David Rudkin.
New Perspectives Theatre Tour to 30 November 2013.
Runs 2hr One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 15 October at The Castle Wellingborough.
Acutely exploring a dark interior.
Film director Alfred Hitchcock was a man of mystery and a commanding figure in his world. His showmanship, including brief appearances in each of his suspenseful films, went with an enigmatic manner – seen hilariously in the trailer he filmed, touring the Bates Motel set for the first release of Psycho – that hid humour behind portly ponderousness.
So it’s perceptive of playwright David Rudkin, who originally wrote a version of this script as a radio play, to merge Hitchcock (forenames Alfred Joseph) with the similarly-named narrator of T S Eliot’s first major poem, ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’.
Prufrock (taken from a US storefront) is a splendidly unromantic name for a lover, and the divided self narrating the poem barely makes a claim on life. Rudkin equally takes audiences behind the screen images for a Hitchcock whose solitary splendour is also a form of isolation. People briefly come and go, mainly judgmental elders. But Hitch’s sole constant companion is a huge cinema-screen.
For a moment, bringing-on the interval, the famous Hitchcock silhouette, along with a tense crash from a Bernard Herrmann film-score, produces the impact of Hitch at full belt. For the rest it’s a continuous search, delving into the past, as Hitchcock also reaches out to identify the next of his notably glamorous female characters – the ones played by the stars he so despised and maltreated.
Themes of guilt and fear, which helped expand the once merely popular director into an iconic auteur for the mid-20th century generation of art-house French directors (François Truffaut’s 1968 The Bride Wore Black is a notable tribute), are related to his childhood and schooldays, in turn feeding into the creation of new narratives.
It’s a serious, duly enigmatic, piece and New Perspectives are adventurous in touring it beyond places where lovers of artistic enigmas habitually gather. In taking the piece more widely they have a strong company with a fine central performance, which includes elements of apparent impersonation with a sense of interior uncertainty. The actor concerned, with his companions, deserve the recognition denied by the absence of programmes and foyer display.
Cast and credits not available.
1 Nov 7.30pm Waterside Arts Centre Sale 0161 912 5616 www.waterwsideartscentre.co.uk
2 Nov 3pm Cast Doncaster 01302 303959 www.castindoncester.com
3 Nov 7.30pm Pomegranate Theatre Chesterfield 01246 345222 www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk
7 Nov 7.30pm The Atkinson Southport 01704 533333 www.theatkinson.co.uk
8-9 Nov 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm Derby Theatre 01332 593939 www.derbytheatre.co.uk
21 Nov 7.30pm Create Theatre Mansfield 01623 413363 www.createtheatre.co.uk
24 Nov 7.30pm Snibston Century Theatre Coalville 01530 278444 www.centurytheatre.co.uk
26 Nov 7.30pm Ashcroft Theatre Croydon 020 8688 9291 www.fairfield.co.uk
27 Nov 7.30pm Weston Auditorium University of Hertfordshire Hatfield 01707 281127 www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/events/2013/november/the-lovesong-of-alfred-j-hitchcock
30 Nov 8pm Landmark Theatre Ilfracombe 01271 324324 www.northdeontheatres.org.uk/landmark