Horla, The Cask of Amontillado / The Magistrate

Review in Issue 11-4 | Winter 1999

Horla’s recent production adapts one story each from two of the last century’s greatest short story writers, Guy de Maupassant and Edgar Alan Poe. They do this with no set or props (save a single chair for ‘The Magistrate’) and instead recreate these tales of the macabre and sinister with physical inventiveness and imaginative storytelling.

In The Cask of Amontillado, Dave Roberts and Alistair Green are, respectively, Fortunato the fool and Montresor, his nemesis. Their journey to find the cask in question and its promise of inebriated bliss is the story’s premise. They both have very different reasons for reaching their destination. During their journey, a great distance is travelled, much wine is consumed; hills and rocky outcrops are scoured, a wall is built and devilish trickery wins the day. Although the story is dynamically physicalised and gripping, the show was well underway before I really got to grips with what was going on. This probably had more to do with the energy of the performers out-stripping mine on a Friday night, however.

Martin Heam as the Magistrate in Guy de Maupassant’s eponymous tale is a gory treat. Again, using the power of suggestion through word and movement, the horror of this character’s cowardly desire to destroy the weak and unsuspecting is excellently portrayed in a quite brilliant representation of the story. His performance of a skull being cleft in two is horrifyingly graphic and must be seen to be believed. All in all, an accomplished and clever night of theatre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-4
p. 24