Harvey began her collaboration with theatre director Ivo van Hove late 2018 for a modern stage adaptation of the classic 1950 Academy Award-winning film. The play, starring Gillian Anderson (X-Files, The Fall, American Gods, Sex Education) and Lily James (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Baby Driver) will run until May 11 at London’s Noël Coward Theatre in the West End.
On composing this score, Harvey says, “I have always loved stories, and so to compose music to support and enhance a story being told is a challenge I enjoy. I also love the freedom that working instrumentally can give me without the constraints of song form.”
“For All About Eve I chose to work with my long-time collaborator James Johnston as he has a soulfulness and sensitivity to his playing that inspires me. I also worked with Kenrick Rowe who has a versatility to his drumming I knew I could experiment with until I found what was right.”
In addition to creating the play’s sonic landscape (with sound designer Tom Gibbons), Harvey also wrote two new songs for the play’s lead actors: Gillian Anderson performs ‘The Sandman’, and Lily James, ‘The Moth.’
“Ivo wanted to take the play into a non-specific era, so I suggested that in a party scene we could play a contemporary piece of mine, or a song that Margot could sing rather than the existing piano piece by Liszt. Ivo loved this idea and thought that it would be good for Eve to sing a song too, so I worked on songs that had the emotion and lyrics that would be fitting for their characters at the time they appear in the play. Gillian and Lily have brought the songs alive and made them their own, and I think they give very moving performances both on the recordings and on stage.”
Van Hove describes Harvey’s score as, “Very simple, but in its simplicity, it’s complex. The images that she uses are very concrete, but at the same time little bit mythical. A song can bring into a few minutes a huge world alive. Where we in the theater need perhaps five or six pages to establish it, a song can do that within a few lines.”