Three by Poe

I knew three things about the show before it started; that there are horror stories, that there are three of them and that they are presumably related to Poe. The prolonged darkness at the beginning is somewhat unexpected but perhaps it is atmospheric. Time passes by long enough however for our eyes to acclimatise to the darkness and the music loops to confirm the lack of atmospheric intent. Rustling of the curtains betray backstage panic. This is perfectly understandable for the first performance of the show and I am intent to let it slide, but then it rears its ugly head twice more. Between the three stories, the audience is left to sit in darkness for several long minutes to simply chat amongst themselves and any effect that the stories might have had on them is hamstrung by the wait.

This is an immense pity because the delivery of the stories themselves is very well done. Though in the first he cannot seem to quite decide on an accent, the actor clearly possesses a natural ability for storytelling. He portrays multiple characters in each story without a sweat, convincing the audience of his various storytelling identities with an unsettling sincerity. His performance bordered on being worth an extra star. However, there were some slips in the third story and the script he held during it, though supposedly just a prop, seemed to occasionally serve its primary purpose.

Three by Poe has the potential to be a very good show, but it is let down by its inexcusably long pauses for arguably unnecessary costume changes that destroy the atmosphere of each story. Yet a story is not just in its ending but also in its telling. Therefore, it is worth the trip to immerse yourself in this rich storytelling experience, even if it is but for a moment.

Reviews by James Beagon

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The Blurb

Three superb horror stories united by a common theme - revenge! The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart are performed by the respective murderers, while Hop-Frog is read aloud by Poe himself...