I’d like to highlight the work of a fine actress, Emily Raymond, who I have just seen in Carl Grose’s wildly entertaining ‘Grand Guignol’ at Southwark Playhouse.
The play is a delirious and blood-soaked homage to the French theatrical tradition of graphic horror plays, and takes us backstage to explore the creation of these bloody thrillers. Emily Raymond plays the theatre’s stunningly glamorous queen of gore, Paula Maxa – ‘the most assassinated woman in the world’. It is a ripe and very funny performance, and gives Emily the opportunity to showcase a truly magnificent, full-throated scream, to rival even the great Fay Wray.
She also demonstrates a skilful handling of Grose’s heightened language and a very physically adept comic sensibility, even when the most appalling things are happening to her – eye-gougings, throttling, reanimation etc.
It was only after the show that I remembered working (very briefly) with Emily on an episode of ‘Tales From The Old Bailey’ for the BBC, in which she gave a beautifully poised and dignified performance as Emmeline Pankhurst, a world away from the hysterical excesses of ‘Grand Guignol’. She is clearly an actress of great versatility.
‘Grand Guignol’ runs at the Southwark Playhouse until November 22nd.