San Sebastian: Rufus Norris’ ‘London Road’ to Close Fest

Serial killer musical adapts acclaimed National Theater original

Rufus Norris’ “London Road,” a serial killer musical, will close the 63rd San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile event in the Spanish-speaking world.

Screening Sept. 26 forms something of a departure: “Mad Max” star Tom Hardy has a seven-minute (singing) cameo as a taxi driver slightly too knowing about serial killers not to be fingered as a suspect.

Boasting an ensemble cast what “London Road” will bring to San Sebastian is the big-screen makeover of a near experimental National Theater piece that chronicled the murder of six prostitutes in the sleeping provincial city of Ipswich. Rather than fixating on the killer or procedurals, however, the musical’s writers, Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork focused on the consternation and suspicion of local residents to maybe having a killer in their midst and the sudden media mayhem, captured exactly as they spoke in taped interviews, “ers” and “ums” included.

Translated to a stage musical, produced by Norris, “London Road” was hailed as ground-breaking. Fronted by Olivia Colman, co-produced by Picturehouse Entertainment, the National Theater BBC Films, the BFI, “London Road” the film maintains the disarming candor of its residents – “They were a complete pain in the neck,” sings Olivia Colman as Julie: “Y’know, they, they’re better off 10 feet under…” – talking about the drug-addict prostitutes and the film’s emotional uplift as the road gangs together as a community to try to put the past behind them.

Screened in cinemas across the U.K. as part of NT Live and on general release from June 12, “London Road” has scored a 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (with Variety among the few naysayers).

The 63rd San Sebastian Festival runs Sept. 18-26.

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