In The Dead of Night is a 1940’s film noir play, currently showing at the Landor Theatre. Its premise is based around the question of what could a production of that era have really been like if it didn’t have the censorship issues of that time?
In 1930, a code of conduct was produced (known as the Hays Code). The code laid down things forbidden to do in films and others things suggested not to do. Nudity, homosexuality, swearing and violence were just some of the things not allowed in movies. By 1968, this code was replaced by the age rating system we still see today on films (U, PG, 18 etc).
In The Dead of Night proudly states in its programme that it breaks all 36 of the rules laid out in the Hays Code which enables its audience to watch a show that could very well have been made 75 years ago, if the restrictions did not apply. In this show we see drug dealing, love between two men and sensual dancing to name but a few of the things.
The theatre it is dark, dingy and smokey with very dim light. It is like being in an Al Pacino gangster movie where you don’t know who might come around the corner next or what is going to happen. Paul Nicholas Dyke and Richard Lambert do an excellent jog with the design and lighting of this show and is worth a visit just to see how authentic the show looks.
Judith Paris is brilliant as tequila bar owner Elvira, carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders whilst bringing some comedic moments to the show and Susannah Allman gave a sexy, sultry performance as Rita. The rest of the cast all worked together and blended well.
In The Dead of Night is unlike anything on London’s Theatre scene right now. The story is a little hard to follow and feels as though including all 36 items in the code of conduct took favour over making a story that flowed perfectly. However, this is a clever concept and with a little development could be very special.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
In The Dead of Night is playing at the Landor Theatre until 16 May 2015. Click here for tickets