The 405- Imperial Bedrooms Review

A great book that stands up on its own merit.

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Nevermore at The Barbican Review

Edgar Allan Poe was one of those literary figures who own life was just as fascinating as their work. Of course with the mists of time, any story will inevitably become blurred, and it is here that Nevermore steps in.

Nevermore doesn’t really examine the work of Poe, but instead focuses solely in one the key moments of his existence. Taking the simple idea of turning Poe’s life into a narrative driven dreamscape, mostly performed in song, the play becomes a success on many levels. It is a beautifully written piece, that crucially does not lets the surrealism affect the narrative, and vice versa.  After taking a quick mental breath to introduce the protagonist, the energy never lets up.

The smoothness of transitions between scenes of what is essentially a bitty life story is quite astonishing.  The vast array of emotions never seems jarring, and the play can go from comedy to tragedy in a single breath.  It  is not afraid to tackle the true horror of Poe’s imagination, and some of the imagery (such as Edgar’s mother being buried alive) is truly shocking when presented live on stage.  There a few moments where the humour is milked a bit too long, but this does not affect the flow of the piece as a whole.

The cast is without exception superb, and full credit must be given to both them and the director for bringing the piece to life. They inject an epic and haunting quality into what is ultimately a very basic stage set-up, and switch between character’s seamlessly.

Why Nevermore works so well is that it never denies it is a fantasy, and yet refuses to accept this means it can lack any emotional resonance. Every moment seems saturated with Poe’s work,  and there is every song is both relevant, and surprisingly catchy.  You will leave the theatre satisfied, horrified, entertained, and humming a brand new tune.