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Fringe Online 2023

Read To Me

Dan Horrigan

Genre: Film

Venue: Film


Low Down

A highly acclaimed short film, a “crime romance ” directed by Dan Horrigan, the artistic director of Covert Firmament.


Read to Me begins in prison, a therapy group
So, good and evil discussion, a letter and our central character, dyslexic, unable to read it. The back story is revealed, episodic with camera work that is courageous enough to sit still and let the scene happen, like the fixed theatre stage when it needs to, and to move when the narrative needs the flow that film can provide. We jump around the emerging story, at once one of love, a gamble on doing the right thing and we are left pondering at the end what exactly does the “right thing” mean. What happens if serving a greater good ultimately ends up feeding a deeper evil.

So, good and evil loyalty and chivalry, the complications that arise when things so awry even when the motive was initially set fast. Our hero is no neat package. The acting is first class, the cinematography unfussy, the dialogue crisp, with surgical timing when needed and as a story that succeeds in delivering a straight line without a too-linear narrative.
Dan Horrigan has written a fast paced script, packed into around fifteen minutes and I savoured it, wanting to to run longer but appreciating that it achieved all aims as theatrical and filmic story-delivery. Knots are not tied up neatly by the end but the through line delivers a strong punch and I was left, Brecht-style, looking at myself in the mirror. What would I do presented with similar circumstances?

Billed as a crime romance, it is just that. It is darkly romantic, It is love in the bright light of nobility and love hiding in the shadows where we cannot foresee the consequences of our actions. Based on a story by Horrigan and Sarah Jennings, Horrigan directs with economy and gets the best out of actors who fall naturally into realism with a dash of the acting you find in stage thrillers. That involves permission for Rolan (played with credible directness by Christopher Sherwood) to talk directly to camera, almost as the common man to be found in early plays. We the audience then become witnesses, invited judges and confidants. It’s a clever potion that, by dropping the fourth wall, also punches through the silver screen into the auditorium or living room.

There’s well designed, side-on humour from our central character, and If I am being oblique in what I reveal of story and character, it is deliberate. See this film. It’s exciting short story work, rooted in the thrills and skills of the stage.