As Part of the Edinburgh Horror Festival, at the historic Lauriston Castle overlooking the Firth of Forth, One Man Poe draws a sell-out, expectant audience of barely twenty souls to the Drawing Room for an intimate and spellbinding performance by Stephen Smith of Threedumb Theatre. Smith, nearing the end of his one-month tour of the UK, channelling the high priest of horror, Edgar Allan Poe is very much ‘in the groove’ and barely puts a foot wrong in a precise and electrifying monologue of two of Poe’s finest works.
Such is the electricity in the tiny room that we all barely dare to breath, lest we upset Smith’s mesmerising, metronomic delivery.
Clever lighting and make up, (self-applied by Smith at half time) and some wonderful sound effects and soundtrack, by Joseph Furey and Django Holder, all add to the polish of this oh-so-smooth set up, which is testimony to Smith’s professionalism and commitment to the part and the production team behind him.
Normally delivering four of Poe’s stories, this was a cut down programme of just two. First up, was The Black Cat, an allegorical tale about the dangers of drink and the perversion that it can bring to a man’s soul, combined with the superstitious belief that black cats can bring bad luck. Following a brief stop for Smith to add about fifty years to his playing age, he reemerges from the darkness with grey hair and twisted frame to deliver The Raven, A poignant rhyming soliloquy delivered fiercely against the inevitable dying of the light, death taking the form of an ominous talking raven. Brilliant stuff.
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 29th October 2023
North West End UK Rating: