It’s a musical, but not as we know it. Acclaimed theatre director Rufus Norris has taken the highly unique, verbatim style stage show, London Road, and given it the big screen treatment. Written by Alecky Blythe and starring Olivia Colman, Anita Dobson and a short (but uncomfortable) cameo from the man of many voices, Tom Hardy, this stirring – yet hugely disconcerting – British production is something very different indeed.
Based around the killings of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006, London Road is a soul-baring portrayal of community spirit formed around actual interviews with local residents. As the folks living on London Road (where the murderer was arrested) look to pick up the pieces of their tarnished neighbourhood, an all-singing, all not-so-much-dancing (although there’s a bit… ) narrative gives us a disturbingly honest insight into the town’s mindset. There’s no beating around the bush: suspicion and anger fills the Suffolk air, as it is clear – despite the disgust at what happened – that there’s certainly no love lost between residents and the ladies of the night who plagued the local streets.
Handsomely orchestrated and technically stunning (with all the music filmed live on set), there’s a real sense of unease – epitomised by Julie’s (Colman) shocking admission in the films final few moments – which surrounds the whole peculiar spectacular. Its honesty is often harsh and cruel, yet cinematically refreshing, whilst a poignant ending eases suspicions over a lack of sympathy towards the victims. London Road – in its unusual, thought-provoking manner – must be seen to be believed.