The House of Shadows

Within the House of Shadows, there is an explanation for cultural popularity that I found rather endearing. A secret society of members visit a struggling author, blindfold him, and urge him to tell them a story. If he is successful, he is admitted into their cadre and is promised undying fame. As metaphors for the struggles of succeeding in the Edinburgh Fringe go, it takes some beating. But it was only one of the many ideas swirling around the House of Shadows. While not all of them are executed brilliantly, there are more than enough ideas here to keep you thinking.

The plot centres around writer Joseph Lambert, trying to write his great work in the ‘hot countries’. He pines after the mysterious Lucinda on the opposing balcony, while his very shadow longs for his freedom. As the play advances, his shadow begins to take on more of its very own personality. The play consists only of Lambert, and his shadow. Their physical intertwined interaction is impressive, with some snappy dialogue. In addition their speeches directly aimed to their audience are delivered with the right amount of flair. The script contains enough motifs and symbols to retain interest and the understated conclusion provides a sense of fulfilment and closure.

If there are problems with the play, it is that emotional highs are too quickly reached. By the third instance of Lambert pleading for something or other repetition already sets in. And some plot strands are left a little unclear, and extraneous to the plot itself. But, overall, the play is carried on the back of the performances and it more than excels in its mid-afternoon slot. At forty five minutes long it’s worth seeing as a pre-dinner aperitif.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

The Learned Man is obsessed with telling a story that is good and true and beautiful to gain entrance to the Cult of Beauty, but his Shadow breaks free and threatens to consume his humanity.

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