Returning after a successful run in 2018, A Trilogy of Horrors: Volume 1 is, as the title suggests, three separate tales of horror and suspense, from three classic writers; Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley. Each tale is told by a different sole performer, each taking the part of storyteller as well as central character to the tale.
Maybe horror isn’t quite the right word to describe the three though, there isn’t any real horror or jump in your seat moments. Instead each is a story of soft suspense, leading to a final twist in the tale. And whilst the horror is a little thin and the final twist isn’t too unexpected, the storytellers themselves more than make up for it, each drawing you in as they build to their conclusion.
First up is Ines Marcelo Curto, playing the Visitor in Dickens’ The Signalman. Curto is all prim and proper as she recounts meeting the strange signalman, with his tales of the spectre forewarning of tragedy. She plays it well and delivers her piece in the manner expected, although it’s the fact she is so prim and proper in her Victorian outfit that limits her from really pushing the tale along more or adding enough drama and tension to the piece.
Next is Martin Corcoran, taking the part of the pyjama wearing Ishmael in Poe’s The Mortal Immortal. The tale is told from the confines of Ishmael’s mental institution, a place he is condemned to because he believes he is immortal. Although as the tale unfolds and he describes the effects, the question becomes is he mad in his belief of being immortal, or mad because he really is immortal, something his story reveals to be a curse because he cannot die. The fact that Corcoran can push his role into realms of madness allow him to be more physically forceful, more dramatic and so engaging to the audience with his presence.
Last up is Erin Elkin, the erratic cleaner in a B&B in Shelley’s The Tell-Tale Heart. This is the best of the three, maybe because of them all it is the one that feels most modern, nothing to place it to the time of its original writing. This could easily be a modern-day B&B, Elkin could easily be a cleaner you come across anywhere you may frequent. She tells her tale to her audience, the visitors to the B&B who have been disturbed by screaming. There feels more suspense to this final piece, the audience finally waiting for the reveal. When it comes, it may not be the biggest of surprises, but Elkin delivers it so well it is still worthy of attention.
Overall, A trilogy of Horrors may not quite deliver on the horror, but it is three examples of superb storytelling that for those who like to hear a good yarn will find plenty to enjoy.
Orginal stories written by: Charles Dickens, edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley
Adapted by: John Rushton, RObbie Birchall and Robin Hellier
Directed by: John Rushton
Produced by: Connor Jones and Jenni Goodchild
Booking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/trilogy-of-horrors-volume-i
Booking until: 11 August 2019