Review: Stories in the Dark

Sometimes it’s the simple things. Three voices and a cello, that’s all that’s needed to drive Stories in the Dark, a Fringe show that celebrates the lost art of storytelling. And listening.

Held in Holden Street Theatre’s tiny room The Manse, actors Nathan O’Keefe, Elizabeth Hay and Rebecca Mayo, as well as musician Rachel Bruerville, are all perched in a corner of the room while chairs line the walls and cushions are in the middle for the audience to sit.

The actors have dusty old books in their laps while Bruerville gently plays the cello. The lights dim, they hum. O’Keefe reads Genesis 1:1, an apt beginning for a story about darkness, before they sing an Irish folk song, In the Dark Green Woods, and pieces by DH Lawrence and Helen Keller.

Listening to these talented actors read stories next to dim naked globes in a semi-dark room; your imagination begins to take over, as the flickering faces take you back to hearing ghost stories by camp fire.

The first suite of tales are a mixture of lightness and shade, the light coming from Twain’s amusing A Telephonic Conversation, which is energetically performed by O’Keefe and Hay (still in the dim light).

When the lights turn off is when it gets intriguing thanks to a couple of famous Edgar Allan Poe short stories. While The Raven is dark and fun it is The Tell Tale Heart where the show reaches its peak as three voices shout over each other as the paranoia sets in and, in the dark, the voices seem to rise like ghosts levitating above the audience.

Luckily not all the stories are performed with this intensity but Stories in the Dark (directed by Tim Overton) allows you to switch off and simply let words and your imagination take you to places that are occasionally dark, sometimes fun, but always intriguing.

Stories in the Dark continues at The Manse (Holden Street Theatres) until Sunday, March 5.

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