The maddeningly slow fade out of the houselights and the darkness that follows sets a suitably uncomfortable tone for Poe’s short story. Martin Niedermair gives an entrancing performance as the murderer, his dementia captured by the stuttering, twitchy delivery and his scrambling up and down an endless staircase. Director Barrie Kosky accompanies on piano, the chilling soundtrack and Niedermair’s haunting singing voice combining to raise the tension of the piece. However, while the staging and performance are wonderfully unsettling, the main problem comes from the source material. For what is meant to be an insight into the mind of a murderer this play lacks the real psychological intrigue that’s expected. Inexplicable insanity is disturbing to watch, but not particularly satisfying.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, 9 – 11 Aug, Times Vary, From £10, eifp 10.