City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mr Poe's Legendarium, C Nova, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 12 August 2015

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C nova
Clown Funeral
Running time: 
Sam George (director), Alexander Webster (designer)
Rachel Elfassy Bitoun, Christina Owen, Freddie Paul, Ella Tebay, Samuel Thorogood, Patrick Tobin

Sigmund Freud and Edgar Alan Poe in the same play? What’s not to like? Sadly, rather a lot in the case of ‘Mr. Poe’s Legendarium’.

Poe is perhaps one of the United States’ least understood writers, the late David Foster Wallace being but another example. Equally, Sigmund Freud might be described as yet one more prophet betrayed by his disciples.

All a bit heavy, it could be said, for a piece that is clearly intended as light entertainment. If you wish to be light, however, it’s perhaps wise not to take on a couple of heavyweights unless you’re really light on your feet.

Which is essentially the problem here. Without explanation, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) finds himself in the parlour of Edgar Alan Poe (1809-1849) and attempts an analysis of some small part of Poe’s literary work. That, at least is the premise for what follows, consisting of moderately effective physical theatre somewhat constrained by the construction of the venue, some appalling schoolboy humour and very little Poe (far less Freud) mainly focussed on ‘Evangeline’.

It don’t, as Mr. Poe himself might have expressed it, amount to a hill of beans, which is a great pity as it might have. Given the circumstances of his life, Poe is undeniably a case for treatment, and although Freudian analysis is said to only be 'effective' in 5% of cases, Freud, like Marx, has shaped twentieth century consciousness in spite of some glaring omissions in their theories. All of which can provide the substance of satire, send-up and a variety of comedic opportunity.

Clown Funeral, however, seem content to clutch at absurdist straws rather than get their teeth into anything more solid, which is a pity, as one or two of the company give the impression they could do better. One can but hope they may.

Til 22 August, 5.15pm.