French artist Roland TOPOR made a name for himself in many fields of the arts, and was known for his surreal creations as well as being an actor in classic horror movies in the 1970’s. One of the many fields he explored was literature, and due to that US specialist label Cadabra Records chose to record and release their special interpretations of two of his stories in their ongoing series of dramatizations released on vinyl.
On this production Laurence R. Harvey is the narrator and voice artist, while the score is supplied by industrial musician Theologian. The latter aspect of this fits the scope of the stories perfectly, with the opening story “No Ordinary Fairy” given a suitably dark and doom-laden score, while the second story “Laying the Queen” have room for lighter touches. Both of them suitably surreal, to fit the premise of the stories.
The surreal element is very much in place for the narration as well, and Harvey is a gifted choice as the provider of voices. He makes both stories come across as a bit more lifelike than the actual words makes them, an as such vitalize the story experience in a good manner. The stories themselves comes with a few shortfalls though, and especially the latter story doesn’t add all that much to the table other than being kind of a parody of a classic fairly tale, exploring the elements unsaid and unstated in the classic fairly tales of ancient times but neglecting any deeper content. A story that for me comes across as a one-off experience. The final punchline is nice enough, but is also arguably the least realistic aspect of the story itself.
Cadabra Records provide top quality productions, giving a new and different life to the stories subjected to their retelling and cinematic score combination. Topor’s two stories are given a nice, suitable dark polish here, and will arguably be a better experience on this medium than as mere letters on paper. The disposition and context of the stories themselves strikes me as the weakest aspect of this production, but if dark and surreal versions of classic fairly tales is a subject matter of interest, the label still have a few copies of this 12 inch vinyl in storage.
My rating: 70/100
Side A – No Ordinary Fairy
Side B – Laying the Queen