BROADWAY BABY REVIEW: by Gwen Sims-Williams
Marty Ross drags Edgar Allan Poe into a Glaswegian alley, knifes him in the back and shakes him down for drug money. What falls out is an insanely good piece of storytelling. With nothing but a tracksuit, a drum and a wickedly inventive mind, Ross creates a shocking tale for modern times. Three new versions of Poe’s stories are presented on rotation; I saw a retelling of the Tell-Tale Heart. If the other two are half as gripping, audiences will be in for a treat.
Ross is a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure, painting vile pictures and weaving a grotesque spell over his listeners. He is constantly on the move, thrashing around the aptly-chosen stage in the vaults. Five minutes into ‘Heart-Shaped Hole’ he is already sweating profusely as his character, sick from withdrawal and desperation, climbs thirty-five flights of stairs on a murderous mission. Ross turns one of Poe’s best-known tales into a hard-hitting narrative of drug dealers, paedophiles and Glaswegian tower blocks - whilst, incredibly, never losing the spirit of the original. It feels like genuine Poe resurrected in a violently modern setting. Gone are the Gothic mansions, but all the author’s creepiness and shock value remains.