Tag Archives: Edgar Allan Poe

The Fetch Wilson


Pleasance Theatre

The Fetch Wilson

The Fetch Wilson

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 11th October 2019



“Mullane begins by winning us over with warm Irish charm, before dropping the temperature of the auditorium as Wilson’s story proceeds”


Stewart Roche’s adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe tale is currently showing at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington as part of the 2019 London Horror Festival. The Fetch Wilson is a nicely updated version of the Poe original, and takes place mostly in Ireland, which plays to the strengths of the talented young Dublin company, the Corps Ensemble, which produced it. The title is updated, as is the name of the character telling the story—Liam Wilson—but to explain any further would give the game away in this tautly written psychological thriller. In brief, The Fetch Wilson is a sixty minute monologue about an ordinary man surrounded by people so much more memorable than himself. However, when Wilson discovers his life’s passion through cards then all bets are off. In a series of ever more catastrophic encounters with a mysterious doppelgänger, Wilson is forced to confront the darker corners of his personality, and discover who he really is.

Skilled raconteur Edwin Mullane is the actor playing Liam Wilson, and, directed by Jed Murray, he holds the attention of the audience effortlessly for the entire sixty minutes. Performing on a bare stage decorated by playing cards, and dressed like a dissolute fraternity boy after a particularly awful costume party, Mullane begins by winning us over with warm Irish charm, before dropping the temperature of the auditorium as Wilson’s story proceeds. It’s a treat to watch the way in which he uses Roche’s script to carefully plant the clues that lead to the denouement. Roche also provides him with several lines designed to get laughs, so that there is humour to lighten the scare factor as well. The only weakness—if it can be called a weakness—is how this denouement is managed on stage with only one actor. But it still succeeds in packing the appropriate psychological punch.

The Fetch Wilson is one of the first shows to go up in a promising start to the 2019 London Horror Festival. So if you enjoy theatre designed to explore life’s darker side, then hurry over to Islington for your pre-Hallowe’en fix. You will be happy to hear that there is an abundance of horrific dramas awaiting you at both the Old Red Lion Pub Theatre, and the Pleasance Theatre, until November 2nd.


Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Tristan Fennel


The Fetch Wilson

Pleasance Theatre until 14th October as part of London Horror Festival


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Call Me Vicky | ★★★ | February 2019
Neck Or Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2019
Night Of The Living Dead Live | ★★★ | April 2019
Don’t Look Away | ★★★½ | May 2019
Regen | ★★★ | May 2019
The Millennials | ★★½ | May 2019
Kill Climate Deniers | ★★★★ | June 2019
It’ll Be Alt-Right On The Night | ★★★★ | September 2019
Midlife Cowboy | ★★★ | September 2019
The Accident Did Not Take Place | ★★ | October 2019


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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven

The Raven

Etcetera Theatre

Reviewed – 31st October 2017



“it felt suitably eerie and atmospheric to come to take our seats in the soundscape of a ferocious storm”


Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven was published in 1845, and still appeals to our taste for the supernatural almost two centuries later. It was a deft piece of programming to show Simon James Collier’s new adaptation at 9.30 on Halloween night, and it felt suitably eerie and atmospheric to come to take our seats in the soundscape of a ferocious storm. The noise of the rain lashing down, interspersed with occasional crashes of thunder, made the little black box of the Etcetera the perfect space for a ghostly tale.

With such obvious attention to atmosphere, it seemed an odd decision to completely abandon the poetry of the original, as the language – so memorably revivified in the now legendary Treehouse of Horror 1990 episode of The Simpsons – is what has allowed the poem its cultural longevity. Indeed, although the play retained the original’s 19th century setting, the language was inconsistent, and modern phrases – ‘that can be sorted’ and ‘banter’ spring to mind – jarred against the prevailing attempt at early Victorian dialogue.

Sandra Veronica Stanczyk provided us with some compelling moments. She held the stage well with the final exposition, her reactions to the raven (invisible to the audience and another example of Sam Glossop’s superb sound design) were convincing in their precision, as were her occasional eruptions of neurotic drunken giggles. Less convincing was the choice to be breathless throughout, which took away from the pathos, and never allowed her performance or the play to lift above melodrama. This feeling was reinforced by the two male characters, whose presence added nothing to Lady Woodruff’s tale, other than an occasional comic moment, each of which had the uncomfortable feeling of perhaps not being intentional.

At the play’s end; as the audience stepped down the stairs into the Halloween night, one gentleman said to his friend, ‘I thought it was going to be closer to the poem’. On balance, that would have been the more satisfyingly spooky choice.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw




is at the Etcetera Theatre until 5th November



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