Vertigo's latest venture is Something Sinister, a modern reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock's Rope which arrives in Manchester in April. We caught up with Craig to discuss the auteur himself and a certain pink fluffy musical!
Tell us in a nutshell what Something Sinister is about?
It tells the story of two wealthy 22 year old best friends and part time lovers Brandon and Philip who at the beginning of the play murder their best friend... why? Because they feel that they should be allowed too and they want to see if they can get away with it. Once the deed is done, they stuff his body in to a trunk in their living room before the victim’s friends and family come round for a party, which just happens to be a leaving party for the victim. The play looks at social stature, self opinion and self worth as well as looking at how a sociopath operates in an everyday situation. We all know that eventually the body will be discovered and all hell will break loose, but Something Sinister is about the build up to the moment.
You obviously like Hitchcock, so what is your favourite film of his and why?
I have so many; I think I change my mind on a daily basis. I think the man was a genius; his eye for detail is incredible. None of his films looked like a movie he did for a pay cheque, you could tell he was passionate about his work. I'm a big fan of The Birds, the fact the film is so frightening and has no score and none of the visual effects we use today is a credit to Hitchcock’s brilliant mind. Film makers who deal with the thriller genre could learn a lot from him when it comes to less is more. I also love Frenzy, Marnie, Saboteur, Psycho and Rear Window.
How do you hope to bring the Vertigo touch to the play?
Well, the narrative of Rope (which Something Sinister is based on) is very much intact. The murder, the body in the trunk, the party etc. What our version does is set it in a contemporary setting and eplore new sides of the protagonists, from their sexuality, motives, state of mind etc. We also lower the age of the party guests, as our groups are in their twenties, a variety of New York rich youngsters who live a life so far removed from the normal world. It also of course delivers whole new moments of tension and a crazy new ending. I think where the original set the story in a normal social gathering, our version keeps a feeling of danger throughout, its clear to see that Brandon (one of our killers) is on a mission to cause as much emotional pain to his ‘friends’ as he possibly can that night.
I know you are a keen theatregoer, so which productions are you forward to the most this year?
I'm really excited about getting back down to London a few times this year as well as hopefully getting over to New York towards the end of the year. I'm looking forward to watching the Little Dog Laughed in London, it’s such a great show and I’m thrilled the UK has it. I'm also over the moon that we get to have the revival of Hair from Broadway. And Jerusalem could also be one of the highlights of 2010 as well. On Broadway I’m intrigued to see The Addams Family and looking forward to American Idiot, but my highlight will be watching Next To Normal again....as it’s the best musical around.
I hear you are fond of Legally Blonde. Are you planning to see the West End version?
(Laughs) This is the best question ever! Yes I’m a Legally Blonde The Musical fan. I loved the show in NY, it’s just so ridiculous and campy, yet at the same time it’s a well written and tightly directed fun night at the theatre. Within the next couple of weeks, me and my partner will be down there screaming like 12-year-old girls and I’m not ashamed at all (Laughs). I was thrilled for the UK cast and crew that they got such great reviews and can’t wait to see Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods. I will of course give you a full review (ha ha).
What's on the cards for Vertigo after Something Sinister?
This year is a strange one, we are hoping to get a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on over Manchester Pride but we will have to see if things come together quick enough or we may have to do the show next year. At the moment we are trying to look for a great rock band for the piece (so if anyone knows of any, please let me know). We also have an original play ready to go called F*****g and Loving in the Village. The piece is about Manchester’s gay Village (our 2nd home) and its the stories of the people from the Village, tales about their loves, losses, sex, and friends etc. Oh and of course I’m sure I will stage a great production of Legally Blonde The Musical very soon! (Laughs).
Craig Hepworth was speaking to Glenn Meads.
Something Sinister runs at Taurus from 27 April - 1st May and more details can be found at Vertigo's website.