Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Review: Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo is well underway and there has been a lot of buzz about Catalyst Theatre's Nevermore...a creepy musical loosely based on the story of the life of American Gothic Edgar Allan Poe. I decided that I needed to go check it out after about 10 people told me that I would want to cut out my own heart if I didn't see it. Okay, slight exaggeration...this is just my interpretation of their excitement.

I didn't really know what to expect, but I have a feeling that Tim Burton would have been quite pleased. It was dark, witty, slightly scary and a tad more morose than one may like...but it was based on the life of Poe - the dude was practically the world's first documented emo kid.

Poe's life was nothing to get optimistic about. Poor, sad, alone. Classic tale of someone who gets famous after they's like death's karma or something. But the show wasn't something that would make you, it was almost too whimsical for that. Maybe it was the music, which played throughout the show along with quirky little songs with the occasional dance number, or maybe it was the fanciful costumes that only Helena Bonham Carter could pull off in reality, but I wasn't emotionally invested in him like I usually would be with a downtrodden character such as Poe.

Every aspect of this show was brilliant. The set was minimal, but well utilized. The lighting set the tone for each scene from the darkness surrounding deaths to the slightly happier times of embarking on things such as marrying your cousin. The music was simple, but a perfect fit for each scene. The costumes, again, were amazing.

My only qualm about the show (obviously nothing is perfect and I must pick on something or I don't feel like myself) was the story about the bullies at school skinning Poe's semi-pet mouse, letting it flop around on the floor until it died while they made Poe watch. Yeah, was that absolutely necessary? Was it because it was Poe-esque that you thought it was crucial to the plot...cause it wasn't.

Verdict: 4.2 Stars 


For more information about Nevermore and the High Performance Rodeo go here. Nevermore runs until February 5 at Vertigo Theatre.

I would also like to point out that I saw the show on what would have been Poe's 202 birthday. Interesting...this story is also interesting if you are into Poe.

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