TIFF 2015: London Road
Can we have more musicals like this, please? Rufus Norris adapts Alecky Blythe’s and Adam Cork’s stage musical, London Road, for the big screen, and the result is a jolt of much-needed electricity into a dreadfully deflated genre. It tells the true story of the “Suffolk Strangler” murders that shook a tiny community in Ipswcich. An alarming number of prostitutes started blemishing the refined reputation of this quaint little British town, until someone took it upon themselves to start killing these women. Now, murder and crime get added to prostitution and the residents decide to do something about it.
What makes this such a mirthful experience is the genius choice of turning real-life testimony from witnesses and bystanders into songs, verbatim. In doing so, every “um,” “like,” and “you know” become integral parts of the lyrics, blending tragedy and comedy into wholly unique ways. The magnificent Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy are the name-actors, but Hardy’s only in it for a minute, while Colman thankfully gets to do, and sing, much more. The real stars, however, are the interviewees and the TV anchors, whose harmonies over Adam Cork’s various pop and dance beats give London Road its verve and vitality. A musical unlike any other, you’d do well to seek this one out as soon as it plays near you.