Presented by Ashley Hribar
Reviewed 26th February 2020
Renowned Australian pianist and composer Ashley Hribar celebrates the one hundred year anniversary of Robert Wiene’s masterful film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari in his new Fringe show. The audience is treated to a new, digitally remastered version of the film – executed so well, one can see the freckles on Alan’s nose and powdery make-up clinging to Cesare’s eyelashes.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was as influential as it was innovative when first released in 1920. An expressionist horror film telling the story of Cesare, a somnambulist who murders by night, and Francis, a young man trying to protect the woman he loves.
Hribar emerges from a cardboard coffin (not unlike Cesare’s own) and sleepwalks his way to the stage – his veneration for and dedication to the film is clear.
Inspired – but not limited – by the original scores (of which there were several), he uses modern technology alongside his own piano to enhance Dr Caligari. His soundboard creates ambient noises that play as a duet with the piano. Typewriters clack and telephones ring in the city clerk’s office. Children shout gleefully at the fair. An eerie, rumbling bass plays as Cesare murders Alan.
Hribar’s own score lends itself seamlessly to the needs of each scene. Romantic and mysterious during Act I, his piano becomes frenzied and ominous as Dr Caligari unleashes Cesare upon the town in Act II. Anyone wishing to experience this beloved antique in a new and vibrant way will be delighted with Hribar’s show.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating out of 5: 5
Venue: Mercury Cinema
Season: 26th – 28th February 2020
Duration: 75 mins