Lost Highway, Young Vic, London
Tuesday 08 April 2008
The shiny blacktop of a road to nowhere bisects the Young Vic auditorium – at one end an automobile frozen in transit, at the other the Lost Highway to David Lynch's skewed imagination. Olga Neuwirth's amazing take on Lynch's cult movie pretty much achieves the impossible: it takes all the trappings of a great cinematic imagination – one built from the psychotic irrationalities of our dream state – and makes startling music theatre of them.
Wander into the Young Vic for any one of the six sold-out performances and you'll find a living, breathing, hyperventilating evocation of Lynch's inner world. The great thing about Lost Highway – ENO's first collaborative show with the Young Vic – is that it refuses to conform to preconceived notions about music theatre; it isn't governed by rules as to when or where it might be appropriate to speak or sing. Indeed, characters never really sing in this piece – they intone. There's a sleazeball called Mr Eddy, also known as Dick Laurent (every character in Lynch tends to have a double identity), brilliantly played by David Moss, whose menace is conveyed entirely in grotesque exclamations somewhere between sing-song and scream.
The dialogue itself is hyper-amplified to take on the allusion of a movie soundtrack, while the band (under Baldur Brönnimann) create an extraordinary kind of emotional static – the musique concrète of Hades – that has absorbed the myriad musics of Lynch's world, from popular songs like "Unforgettable" to Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.
Director Diane Paulus does a stunning job. Her designers turn the Young Vic into a neon-lit installation: four giant video screens filtering both live and pre-filmed images around a suspended Plexiglas box from which descends a white spiral staircase – the stairway to and from psychosis, mission control for Lynch's weird and wonderful imaginings.
So why does jazz musician Fred Madison (Mark Bonnar) turn into garage mechanic Peter Dayton (Quirijn de Lang)? Is Renee really Alice (Valérie MacCarthy) or Alice really Renee? Who's shooting the video of Fred and Renee having sex? Who kills her? Is Lynch taking the piss? Welcome to this "psychogenic fugue"; if you're a Lynch fan you've been here before – but never quite like this.
To 11 April (020-7922 2922)
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre