Melody Maker’s Barney has been let off the lead for our fourth Now What Online showcase. Adapted for the screen by Hannah Nixon from her own short play, Barney is an atmospheric, twisted and uncomfortably funny demonstration of how you can lift dialogue-driven theatre for the short film medium.
A pair of distressed parents decide to take drastic action when their son is shown dog Porn in the playground. A middle-class comedy of manners set at the tail end of a dinner party that takes a very dark turn.
With creeping sound design by Mark Hellaby and Joshua Weston, Barney sets a scene we’ve seen a thousand times before in films such as Carnage and The Invitation, but takes a dramatically more subtle, though equally distressing turn. Thanks in part to the acting talents and comedic instincts of Crystal Yu, Joanne Ferguson and comedians Nick Helm and Daniel Lawrence Taylor, the simple dinner party set up is enriched with subtext and a pertinent message for our increasingly internet-driven culture.
In her own words, Melody Maker described her directorial process in a previous interview:
“The original script of Barney was much lighter, but whilst reading the Greg character I kept imagining Nick Helm as I previously worked with him the year before and (I am sure he wouldn’t mind me saying) has a somewhat cynical sense of humour. This, mixed with my already dark comedic taste, sculpted a new mix of creeping despair and awkward amusement.
Having a dose of humour injected throughout the film pulled the genre in different directions. The dark humour and dead-pan delivery was my way of lightening a subject so absurd like dog porn and the reality of how women are depicted through TV screens.”
With a sharp eye for design and beauty, Melody’s visually unique work has audiences immersed in the surreal world’s she creates.
Melody Maker born and raised in London started in the fashion industry nurturing her taste for design and composition through clothing and campaigns. After working as a creative director for a prolific fashion brand, she continued her creative path progressing into the medium of film.
Drawn from her experiences, Melody’s work reflects a beautiful aesthetic with dark and surreal undertones.