Starzplay (well, their American chain Starz) seems have subscribed to the rural drama. If a few weeks ago we saw the premiere of ‘Hightown’ that took us to the American coastal scene, this time the unsubtle title of ‘P-Valley‘plunges us into the quintessential South: the Mississippi Delta and puts the Pynk, a strip club, at its center.
Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson) arrives at this club, about which we know little (in the first scenes we see her in the middle of a great flood). We don’t know your intentions but she comes ready to fight and win a position as the club’s new big draw, rivaling veteran Mercedes (Brandee Evans).
But this is not a drama only about two girls who compete for pole but rather Katori hall, author of the original play and showrunner of this series, makes us quickly see that she wants to tell a story about dreams and ambitions from which that environment saturated with neon lights and purple tones is simply the beginning from which to start.
The valley of the
It’s a tough world and it looks like a southern reverse of the recent ‘Wall Street Scammers’. A reverse that, while keeping the feminine look, is much less glamorous (and even luminous) than Lorene Scafaria’s tape.
This “ valley” directed by Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan) is a starting point and meeting point for characters looking for a way to express themselves, to achieve a goal that, although it may seem strange to us (Mercedes’s is to open a gym for the cheerleaders she teaches) is as real and necessary a thing for them as breathing.
That behind the cameras of ‘P-Valley’ there are only directors (Karena Evans, Kimberly Peirce, Millicent Shelton, Tamra Davis, Geeta V. Patel, Tasha Smith, Sydney Freeland and Barbara Brown) offers a non-hypersexualized look at this world but without renouncing the implicit sensuality. An example we have in the dance scenes, put as the forced exercise that it really is.
A somewhat abrupt script
As an award-winning playwright, Katori Hall she is used to the world of theater and its rhythms, and it shows a lot when it comes to simplifying the script for efficient staging. Perhaps it economizes too much. The presentation is quick, the reactions are immediate, and the presentation of Autumn Night with her arrival at the Pynk is too abrupt, including a dance scene in which, for some reason, we see flashes of her traumatic past.
Usually in the first episode pthey grill things just for the sake of it and without much explanation. However, I cannot say that it is badly written and, in fact, in the three episodes (out of eight) that I have been able to see, there is a desire to tell a panoramic and ambitious story … but it does not manage to encapsulate it well.
Definitely, there is some irregularity in the immersive experience that Starzplay offers us. The feeling of being there, that those characters (quite well designed and charismatic) are real, is quite strong. Too bad the story doesn’t accompany it.