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Anna X criticizes sound and vision steals the show in a false heiress tale | Theater




reAmien Hirst’s concept art is mentioned more than once in Joseph Charltons’ play about a con artist scamming a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur. It seems fitting because Anna X feels like a cool, arrogant, high-end stage equivalent.

The story itself is a standard romantic sting, but combines drama and music with video projection techniques so sophisticated and stupendous that it feels like a reimagined theatrical form or a mix of film, pop video, and drama. immersive happening.

The Two-Handed character features Emma Corrin as Anna, whose character is inspired by the false heiress Anna Sorokin, convicted of grand larceny in 2019, and Nabhaan Rizwan as Ariel, who falls in love with it. This is not a dramatization of the Sorokins story (HBO and Netflix each have their own upcoming versions), but carries the essence of it.

This Anna, originally from Ukraine, arrives in New York and creates a new identity for herself as an art collector and descendant of a wealthy Russian family. It’s, in fact, more of a brand augmented by social media than an identity, and puts a fraudulent twist on the American Dream. Ariel has already become her own brand after creating a premium Tinder-style app (only beautiful people and celebrities are allowed by invitation).

Anne X.
Video projections transform the Anna X decor. Photography: Hélène Murray

They meet at a thrilling nightclub opening that resembles a scene from Trainspotting, and Anna proceeds to scam Ariel. Both are appreciated through social networks and its duplicities allow self-invention (you pick up your phone and start your new start) and seduction.

As producer Sonia Friedmans Re: Emerge’s third and most gripping season in the West End, this show is thrilling in its ambition, originality and execution. There is confident direction from Daniel Raggett, Charltons script has skillful wit and intelligence, but it’s the sets and video designs by Mikaela Liakata and Tal Yardens that run the show.

Video projections transform the entire city skyline in motion to hotel rooms and high-speed glass and steel elevators. Mike Winships’ electro music is an almost perpetual background beat. Along with the graphics, it has an adrenalizing effect while also hypnotizing us, as if we were caught in a dream of electronic fever.

The effect and experience trumps the story itself which seems too predictable and we never fall for the frosty character of Anna’s character or invest enough in the romance of couples. There are brilliantly popping lines as the script satirizes the super-rich.

Corrin (excellent as Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown) and Rizwan (also excellent in BBC’s The Informer) are both stunning, fluent and strong when speaking in parallel monologue. Corrin exudes a steely cynicism, and Rizwan is adorably gullible.

If this sounds like a production that tries very hard to be cool, you have to give it whatever it takes to be successful. It’s frantic, fun, and super cool.




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