The low peal of a jazz trumpet. The droning heaviness of fog over the New York riverside. A beat-up desk with a bottle of brown liquor, a pack of cards, and a gun. If there’s one thing Dani Iannarelli definitely knows, it’s the heavy, chiaroscuro-lit underworld of Film Noir.
That Deadly Noir Magic is a satirical love letter to a beloved class of movie
A love letter to a now dying genre, That Deadly Noir Magic lovingly spoofs the works of such great directors such as Huston and Curtiz, in a jazz-soaked dissection of the femme fatales, troubled heroes and psychopathic villains inhabiting an America reimagined through the nightmare landscape of post-WWII culture; all intercut with classic Noir film clips and toe-tapping jazz performances.
Iannarelli pulls double-duty as the show’s detective host and jazz singer, showing considerable talent in both roles. It’s very clear that he’s having the time of his life on stage, despite the world-weary shell he inhabits. His passion for the genre is clear through the sheer substance of his satire, gunning down tropes in rapid succession. The narrative itself is fairly standard Noir fare: blackmail, double-crossing dames and similes so tortured they’d be banned under the Human Rights Act - all presented with such vigour that you’d seldom notice the often disjointed nature of the story.
And as a musical group, Iannarelli and his backing band are no less impressive. The instrumental portions are thick and authentic, and Iannarelli’s voice was often so powerful you could feel the syllables slamming into the back wall. However, on the softer and lower parts of the singing, he felt as if he was faltering on the edge of his register. And, furthermore, whilst some songs were quite enjoyable, others fell a little flat, due to oddly simplistic lyrics or the odd rhythmic cadence of the vocals in comparison to the instrumental backing. This made for a strangely disjointed experience, but when the show gets back into the swing of things, it’s utterly enthralling.
That Deadly Noir Magic is a satirical love letter to a beloved class of movie, which fans of the genre will enjoy intensely. It may be a little inaccessible to newcomers - partly due to the intricacies of the satire and it’s disjointed, sometimes fractious nature - but is nevertheless an entertaining foray in the warped, stygian world of Film Noir.