The Tell-Tale Heart

This article is from 2008.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Tension-filled hour of Edgar Allan Poe’s psychological chiller

Barrie Kosky made his mark last year with the vulgar extravagance of Poppea, a show that blended Monteverdi opera with the songs of Cole Porter. Now he’s back with an altogether more intimate, not to mention more creepy, show. Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart is a gothic chiller told from the perspective of a cold-blooded murderer whose emotions finally get the better of him.

In this hour-long stage version, the killer is played by Martin Niedermair (Ottone in Poppea) who holds the audience in suspense while Kosky provides piano accompaniment with a set of songs by Bach, Purcell and Hugo Wolf. ‘I don’t think I could have come back to Edinburgh with a more different production,’ says Kosky who staged this English-language version in Melbourne last year after conceiving it in German for Vienna in 2004. ‘It’s 60 minutes of nail-biting tension.

You get taken into the mind of this man. Through singing he reveals another element of his character. We found in Vienna and Melbourne that some people find it terrifying and some find it macabre; and some of it’s quite funny, as horror should be. Martin is a lovely guy, but he sometimes scares me.’

Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, 0131 473 2000, 9 & 10 Aug, 8pm; 11 Aug, 2.30pm, £10-£25.

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