Horror – Gothic Tales and Dark Poetry (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Horror – Gothic Tales and Dark Poetry

Some scary, literary stories are told in the dark

Fringe venue The Banshee Labyrinth likes to give the impression it's haunted; seemingly carved out of ancient rock, it invites visitors to burrow into moist, dank caves and discover, on this occasion, Isabel Schmier, a German raconteur who offers a feast of Gothic themed readings which match the murky environs.

Schmier has brought this show to the fringe before, and it shows in that she's a confident, assured performer who needs no notes or prompts, and few props or cues; there's a musical intro and outro, and a few manipulations of light sources for effect, but this show is all about the words and the delivery. Schmier has pulled together a strong selection of chilling tales from various writers, a greatest hits of horror. It's high-end stuff from the likes of Guy de Maupassant, and Baudelaire, while Renfield's obsessions with flies, spiders and cats from Bram Stoker's Dracula also gets an airing. There's a clear audience frisson when Schmier announces a reading of Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem The Raven; it's obvious that sitting in the dark, listening to tales of horror brings out the child in the listener, and Schmier holds the spotlight with ease.

'The abyss of the human soul' is the promise that the show makes, and it delivers; Schmier throws in a couple of less-familiar German writers, and a short text about the reaction of flies to being caught on flypaper is probably the highlight of the show, Schmier seems to revel in disrobing the discomfort of the creatures as they slowly realise and accept their gruesome fate. Various non-creepy noises off-stage from a busy venue distract from her performance, but if you enjoy scary stories told in the dark, then Gothic Tales and Dark Poetry is enough to keep you awake at night.

The Banshee Labyrinth, until 25 Aug (not 21), 2pm, free.

Horror – Gothic Tales and Dark Poetry

  • 3 stars

Isabel Schmier / PBH’s Free Fringe Isabel Schmier explores our fascination with the dark and macabre in this literary performance. Dive into the sinister worlds of Gothic literature and dark poetry where writers like Baudelaire, Lovecraft and Poe are brought back to life. 'Intriguing and captivating' ★★★…