Fusion Theatre return to Greenside with a Poe-faced and incoherent piece of physical theatre that often makes even less sense than its overwrought title.
The physical moves are performed competently but they never add to the narrative
Eclectically. Arranged. Poe and the Tell-Tale In Part is a devised piece that takes its cues from the Gothic stories of Edgar Allen Poe. The source material is rich with darkness; The Tell-Tale Heart is the most obvious stimulus, although allusions to other Poe stories are also present. To its credit, the aesthetic of Sally Bruton-Lang’s production is appealing – plain wooden chairs compliment a bed with no mattress, rusting springs exposed to become the bars of an industrial cage. The adaptation, too, shows some promise and whilst it’s often a struggle to piece together exactly what is going on, the intention here is admirable.
It’s a shame then that it comes across as a piece of ‘edgy’ A-level physical theatre by numbers. There are typical loud-quiet-loud soundscapes, bizarre and pointless routines of Berkoff-style movement and performances that border on the hysterical. The seven actors are young and inexperienced – not bad qualities by any means – but as a result everything is either a little too quiet or a little too enunciated. They are neither natural, nor are they wholly stylised. The physical moves are performed competently but they never add to the narrative. On the contrary, they often only serve to confuse us as we try desperately to understand what’s going on. Everything is taken far too seriously and you long for a moment to make you smile, if only briefly.
Maybe there is a point to all of the shouting, lifting and straining of vocal chords, but we are never given the opportunity to discover it. Fusion Theatre have tried hard to say something profound but, this time around, everything is too eclectically arranged for its own good.