These are two shows bundled together as part of Edinburgh Horror Festival. Posturous Production presents a 25 minute retelling of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, while Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart is presented in 20 minutes by Signalman Theatre.
In the first play, Oliver Giggins plays the titular ghost who, when a raucous American family lays siege to his family home, is determined to frighten them away. The storytelling is great – there is a good mix of suspense and humour, the creepy parts are unpredictable and the audience clearly enjoy themselves. Moreover, the ghost is relentless, but also a bit inadequate for all things ghoulish. As the story continues it is hard to not sympathise with him as Giggins delivers a good performance. At the same time however, the language in the script does escape Giggins at times, and he falters somewhat. Having said that, at the time of writing, the show has had only one performance.
The second act is a solo one too, performed by Tegan Gourlay. She plays a woman obsessed with an old man’s eye, and decides that the only way to escape his gaze is to end him. Gourlay is excellent, her delivery is strong, her makeup is just the right level of spooky, and she draws in the attention of the audience through steady eye contact. As the woman executes her crime, she must contend with a visit from the local policemen. The question remains, will she successfully cover up her crime. Poe’s writing is a bit more forgiving and as a result Gourlay does not miss a single beat.
Retelling classics can be hit or miss, but both productions do a very good job of bringing well loved classics to stage. As part of the Horror Festival or outside of it, Wilde and Poe’s charm endures. But with the nights creeping in fast, this really is the perfect time to indulge in these stories with a hot cuppa.