A large white screen before us. There’s music stands and equipment and such. There’s a booth with a clear glass panel. Before too long, the band arrives first – pouring wine or scotch into mugs – gypsies in suits ready to play a gig. They banter. Actors arrive – the usual air kisses and charisma float about the stage amongst the flash of gasping smiles. A mysterious man with a suitcase retreats into the glass paneled booth.

Lights dim.

And so it begins.

What if you were to take the concept of Live cinema (the practice of taking a pre-existing silent film and complimenting it with musical accompaniment by a solo musician) and then expanded that concept to include a cast of four actors to voice the dialogue, a full band of multi-skilled musicians and a foley artist creating all audio for a 1962 B-grade horror film – the result is Live Live Cinema’s prodcution of filmmaker Herk Harvey’s ‘Carnival of Souls.’

Lead by creator/composer/keyboardist Leon Radojkovic, Carnival of Souls is an impressive and entertaining clash of genres and performance styles. Whilst remaining true to the dialogue, the music spans a range of genres and effects – at times, sweet and playful lounge music – at times distorted crashes of heavy sounds. The mix, and match and clash of music is strangely complimentary to this very quaint horror film.

The film itself is an interesting experience – like that of a time capsule snapped open to reveal well worn premise of woman haunted by spectres only she can see after an accident with all the social trimmings of it’s day – the fashion, the cars, the casual sexual harassment/ gender role play and mild forms of melodramatic eye-brow arching.

The experience is quite engrossing – as we watch performers Chelsie Preston Crayford, Cameron Rhodes, Charlie McDermott, Bronwyn Bradley glisten and chatter at the microphone- at times themselves haunted by the film or the ghost of the on-screen actor.

I am a very light touch – and must admit to being suitably scared in sections – which I put down to the surprising and skilled score by Leon Radojkovic -yes. I screamed. I also laughed quite heartily – at the clumsy/quaint film techniques and the gentle predation from all the men in the film upon the mild yet maniacal church organist Mary Henry.

An absolutely impressive, engaging and entertaining piece of work by Jumpboard Productions and the highlight of the Riverside Theatre’s programming contribution to the Sydney Festival.