Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

London Road is a vibrant, almost revolutionary musical mystery

Tom Hardy is only onscreen for a single scene in London Road – though he proves once and for all that he’s a master vocal manipulator.


3.5 out of 4 stars

London Road
Written by
Alecky Blythe
Directed by
Rufus Norris
Olivia Colman, Clare Burt and Tom Hardy

If you are already familiar with the National Theatre's production of this unusual musical, then you won't be too surprised when a bunch of humble Ipswich residents start singing – sort of – about the travails of living in the midst of a serial killer. For everyone else, this adaptation of Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork's "verbatim musical" (based on the actual testimonies of neighbours to the 2006 "Suffolk Strangler") may cause a few cases of cinematic whiplash. Think Sweeney Todd meets the Red Riding trilogy.

Either way, once Rufus Norris's film gets going, it quickly reveals itself as a vibrant, almost revolutionary work. Shame, though, that Tom Hardy is only onscreen for a single scene – though his intentionally nerve-racked warbles prove once and for all that he's a master vocal manipulator. Equally unfortunate: The fact it took more than a year for this curiosity to make its way to theatres after screening at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to