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Thursday 20 October 2016

The Grinning Man

Poster from Bristol Old Vic

I love going to the theatre and when my friend Bod suggested a night out I was very keen. The options were to see Giselle (ballet) or The Grinning Man which was billed as 'A Macabre New Musical' I opted for The Grinning Man.

What we didn't appreciated when we booked the tickets was that we would be attending a World Premiere.

Seated and awaiting the curtains to open, a tall man came out and introduced himself as Tom Morris (War Horse), the Artistic Director. He thanked us all for attending this very special evening (at this point Bod & I looked at each other in excitement), then went on to introduce the theatre photographer who was poised to take the very first photographs of the show, and to talk a little about the production before he dipped back behind the curtain and the musical began...

From the very opening bar of music we were captivated as the bizarre story unfolded before us. At certain points we were so blown away by what was happening on stage that we were mesmerized. It really plays to all the senses. 

It's dark, funny and freaky. I loved it. 

The story is inspired by 'The Man Who Laughs' by Victor Hugo - A story I wasn't familiar with until seeing this play. I also discovered that Victor Hugo wrote this book while living in exile on Guernsey. 

This excited me, as you may know about my next project which is all about Islands around the UK. The character 'Grinpayne', who was portrayed by Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent film, is believed to be the inspiration for Batman's Nemesis - The Joker. Something I'd commented on during the play as it had occurred to me that there was a likeness between the characters. Looking at this old poster from the film you can see why. Scary!

Promotional poster from the 1928 film

If you love theatre or even if you aren't sure if you do, but would like to try something different, I'd really recommend going to see this. It's on until 13 November 2016 at Bristol Old Vic.

Even though you can watch the 1928 film on YouTube, I'd still say Go see The Grinning Man Musical!