Mayfest Shorts: Castle Rock – Bristol Old Vic Studio

Castle Rock

Castle Rock takes the Stephen King novella The Body and its more famous film adaptation Stand By Me and distorts it into a new thing, where the voices of three silent protagonists from the film are given voice. It is the first piece by company Massive Owl that has taken narrative as its starting point yet in its world of distorted sounds, projections and flashing lights there is no question that the company have stopped embracing their own distinctive style. It is a piece closer to the world of live performance art and those very specific tropes even if they have taken their narrative inspiration from the king.

It has its problems, as maybe one of the only eighties children who has never seen the film it can be a little opaque in its storytelling, although a show that labels itself a distortion on the film, a working shorthand of the films should perhaps be a given. Of course even for the Neanderthals such as myself the famous train scene has entered the lexicon of the day and it is this scene that forms its heart. A thriller on the screen it is here put through the prism of David Lynch and becomes a terrifying, woozy, surreal version of hell, with large distorted shadows and mixed sound reminding one of the giallo films of Dario Argento.

There are some lovely moments, mostly in its use of sound and projections but ultimately it feels less than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t shed much light on its subject though does remind me to set a date to finally rectify not having seen one of the iconic 80’s films.

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