Poe's Last Night

On October third, 1849, Edgar Allen Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. He drew his last breath on October 7th, and since then, the death of this writer of literary classics has been shrouded in mystery. David Crawford, in Poe’s Last Night, attempts to depict the final hours of the writer’s life, and unravel any preconceived ideas, showing a man in a crazed state and not just the legend that is Edgar Allen Poe. However, he falls short of creating a fully believable character, and this undermines the credibility of his suggestions as to how Poe died when he did.

His rendition of The Raven was both fascinating and horrifying, as we saw Poe slip deeper and deeper into his own imagination, lost to reality

This piece balances the private and personal life of Poe with renditions of his most famous works, a successful venture. We hear about Poe’s childhood tragedies, love gained and lost, and see him clutching at a bottle of whiskey for dear life. He frantically wracks his brains to come up with the names of people who could have wanted to hurt him. Despite this, Crawford’s tone stays extremely constant, which makes it difficult to focus on what he is saying, and the lack of inflection melds different parts of the story together when they should be kept separate.

The best part of this performance was seeing Crawford effortlessly slip into the poetry of Poe, a point where the lack of inflection in his voice works excellently. In mixing Poe’s life with stories we know and love, such as The Cask of Amontillado and Alone, these fictional works and given much more depth. His rendition of The Raven was both fascinating and horrifying, as we saw Poe slip deeper and deeper into his own imagination, lost to reality.

Poe’s Last Night was, all in all, a fitting tribute to one of the great American writers. Despite a number of drawbacks, Crawford’s performance is emotional and raw, and to put more power behind the non-fictional sections of the performance would pack even more of a punch.

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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The Blurb

Enter the fascinating mind of Edgar Allan Poe. Share the horror of his last hours on the streets of Baltimore. Hear his most revealing works come to life, including The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven and Alone. David Crawford (of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead) portrays Poe’s haunting story. ‘Magnificent moments, including an enchanting rendition of The Raven’ (Lauren Paxman – Stage). ‘Stunning storytelling… faultless delivery’ (DarkChat.MoonFruit.com).