Edgar Allan - The Coldharts
Reviewed By Luke Dodge
We can all agree the world needs more Edgar Allan Poe musical horror origin stories. A two-person musical set in the 1820s, this comedic horror follows two young schoolboys who find themselves at odds when they discover they share the same name. These frenemies work together, and against, each other in their paranoid journey towards acceptance, and dominance, of the world around them.
Two sides of the same coin, Katie Hartman’s expressive and energetic performance is well complemented by Nick Ryan’s grounded and stoic portrayal. Hartman’s eyebrows are almost a character unto themselves matched only by her haunting melodies. They both embody their characters with an authenticity that belies the over-the-top absurdity of a manic child's worldview. Surreally realistic, their magnetic chemistry works like a charm, both pushing and pulling at each other.
This show does a lot with a little, using the entire theater to build a world larger than the room itself. Clever blocking by the performers maps out intricate hallways and imagined settings spill out into the audience themselves. The restrained use of lighting emphasizes the emotions during the frequent inner monologues. Makeup is equally minimal, packing a punch when finally employed.
Abrupt at first, this reviewer quickly fell deep into the world created. The absurdity of Hartman’s Edgar Allan’s warped worldview keeps the audience laughing while easily slipping into moments of seriousness. Each song feels naturally placed for when the emotions are too large for words alone. Dark and beautiful, this show is sure to be a festival favorite and one that'll stick with you to the bitter end. Just make sure you're ready for uncomfortable eye contact.
Five out of Five Buttons