Holden Street Theatres
Until 05 Mar 2017

Review by Talia Gaertner-Jones

“Stories In The Dark” is literally exactly that: stories in the dark. Before entering the tiny space of The Manse at Holden Street Theatres the audience is prepped on the situation – all phones and electronic devices are to be turned off (no, not on silent or vibrate, completely off as if screens light up they will distract from the performance), secondly, to only sit on a chair on the perimeter of the room if you absolutely need one and thirdly, the performance is completely in the dark so if something does happen where you do need to leave the room, please say in a loud voice ‘stop the show’ and you will be helped outside.

Directed by Tim Overton, “Stories In The Dark” puts you in a place of imagination while listening to a variety of tales spoken and sung by Nathan O’Keefe, Rebecca Mayo, Elizabeth Hay and featuring some haunting melodies by Rachel Bruerville on cello. In complete darkness, relying purely on voice and song, the three performers use expression and animation in tone to deliver pieces by Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. Each performer brought their own unique story-telling styling to the night with O’Keefe’s voice captivating the listeners from the first word reciting Genesis 1:1 and all voices coming together in the soft light for the traditional Irish folk song “In The Dark Green Woods”.

The concept of watching – or listening, as it were – to an entire show in complete darkness is definitely a unique experience for an audience member. However, due to the size of the venue, and people sitting on the floor and chairs, once the lights were turned off, it became more difficult to shift position as you normally might do, as you may have easily bumped someone by accident. Therefore, I found that by the end of the show both my legs were numb with pins and needles from sitting cross legged at the base of the performer’s cello for the 50 minute duration of the show. Sitting at the base of the cello also made listening to the performers speak difficult at certain times.

“Stories In The Dark” is definitely one for people looking to experience something different, but perhaps bring a cushion as you may be sitting on a hard floor for quite a while.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)