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Review: Berberian Sound Studio, at Donmar Warehouse

28 February, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Beatrice Scirocchi in Berberian Sound Studio. Photo: Marc Brenner

THE audience is drawn into a sensuous world of squelching, splashing and cracking in the Berberian Sound Studio. Straight-laced English sound engineer, Gilderoy (Tom Brooke), is flown to Italy to ply his trade in a “horror” film by mysterious movie director Santini. He is the perfect foil to the world of Italian melodrama and sexuality he is thrust into.

Fruit and veg play a big part in the drama. Watermelons, carrots and celery are mashed, clipped and cracked to recreate gory sounds. Almost every line is charged with a heightened sexual tension.

Luke Pasqualino is gloriously seductive as Santini while Lara Rosi is a force of nature as the rebellious actress, Sylvia, resisting the chauvinistic men pulling the levers on set.

The intimate space of the Donmar Warehouse adds to the claustrophobic terror of the drama. But I feel the play does not ever reach its climax, despite the relentless sexual overtones.

Themes and ideas spill over each other without any of them being grasped and followed through in full. At one hour and 40 minutes, without a break, it’s a rollicking ride nonetheless.

Until March 30
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