The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

Threedumb Theatre presents an adaptation of the short grim gothic style tale The Tell-Tale Heart by American playwright Edgar Allan Poe.  Performed by Stephen Smith with Stephanie Van Den Driesen operating the lights, sound and music they bring this macabre tale to life.

The start of the production leads you into the door and under the floorboards. It feels slightly longer than it necessarily needed to be and at times disjointed but please watch beyond this as you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Smith captures the depth of the unnamed murderer in this one-man performance. His victim is targeted solely on the basis that he has a ‘vulture eye’. Definitely not a justification for murder although through the narrator’s twisted explanation it suggests otherwise.

I especially liked the way in which Smith drew you into the horror of the storyline solely by the tone of his voice. As madness takes hold of him his speech quickens and just as you expect to be struck with a ghastly ending he releases you by softening his tone and changing direction.

Throughout his performance, it’s questionable as to whether you are watching the madness unfold before you or a calculated cold-blooded killer using madness as a justification. Although the narrator does explain that his illness has “sharpened his senses”. I would suggest that is for the audience to decide as I was personally left undecided.

It is worth bearing in mind while watching this production that the entire performance was improvised during the lockdown and Smith explained to me that the entire set was staged”…with hand-made props and no budget” from his home and his brother David behind the camera. I think he has managed to capture the atmosphere of this tale brilliantly. In watching pieces like this you get a greater sense of how creative and talented performers truly are.

The entire production is just under 30-minutes long. However, Poe wrote it as a short piece and in order to deliver the shock of the horror any longer would destroy the impact. Threedumb Theatre has certainly bought it to life and created another chilling episode in the history of this 1843 tale.

To watch this production or to find out more about the work by Threedumb Theatre please use the links below. I hope you enjoy this performance.

Four Stars.


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