Skip to content


Published on Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Promotional Image

2 stars

St Andrews (The Church by the Sea) (venue website)
17, 19-21, 24, 26-28 May, 5:00pm-6:20pm; 18, 25 May, 1:00pm-2:20pm, 5:00pm-6:20pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 World Premiere.
 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Poe follows William, who’s taken refuge in a belfry, along with guests from another eleven of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. The show weaves their tales together, as a series of fantastical characters visit the belfry, sharing their tales with William as he plots his escape.

Sadly, the piece suffers from the lack of a single narrative driving the story, a fact that’s accentuated by some overly slow pacing. The concept of each story being told after the belfry clock strikes the hour began to get a little stale, and rather started to underline the sense that the show would be better if it wasn’t quite so long.

The use of movement focuses on balances, with the actors becoming frozen as statues while not in the scene. Though some of the physical work was engaging, it wasn’t truly integrated with the dialogue. Unfortunately, the disjointed episodic storytelling meant that the movement sequences came to feel like unnecessary interludes between stilted scenes. 

However, Poe does make good use of its venue, St Andrews (The Church by the Sea). The set blends into the church surroundings, creating an atmospheric space suited to Poe’s tales, and the segment of a cappella singing uses some pleasing harmonies which employ the church’s acoustics skillfully. I’d have liked to see this developed a little further, to underpin more of the action.

But the pace is a lethargic for such fantastical stories, meaning the poignant moments are lost in long pauses, and the piece would form a more unified whole if the separate tales were threaded together more completely. A few nice touches provide Poe with some successful moments, but the play doesn’t quite come together yet.

<< This Time Next Year   Eccentronic presents: Neu... >>