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The Tell-Tale Heart

A collaborative venture by internationally established Australian opera and legit director Barrie Kosky and gifted Austrian actor-singer Martin Niedermair, "The Tell-Tale Heart" is playing to sell-out auds in an exclusive Melbourne Intl. Arts Festival season of a production based on the Austrian Schauspielhaus original.

A collaborative venture by internationally established Australian opera and legit director Barrie Kosky and gifted Austrian actor-singer Martin Niedermair, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is playing to sell-out auds in an exclusive Melbourne Intl. Arts Festival season of a production based on the Austrian Schauspielhaus original. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of a murderer haunted by the still-living memory of his buried victim, the action unfolds as a moodily lit monologue lasting just under an hour yet achieving greater impact than many full-length plays.

Overall intensity of effect is generated by the fusion of pyrotechnically versatile performer, starkly elegant stage-space (a single wooden staircase-to-infinity), always surprising lighting design, and Kosky to one side on piano, superbly playing a boldly eclectic score.

Delivering the clinically compelling text, Neidermair bodily and vocally conveys the heightened psycho-sensibility of madness — contorting, convulsing, screaming the roof off, frothing at the mouth, and even head-twirling, “Exorcist”-style.

Speaking much of the confessional dialogue with sparely punctuated modulation, the actor also bursts into moving song, chanting for who-knows-what kind of forgiveness and absolution.

Niedermair gives a stunning tour-de-force performance in an unforgettable journey into the dark side of a scarily human soul. Well worthy of wider exposure, the whole emotively pitched voyage is conceived and staged with beauty and sensitivity.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Malthouse Theater Workshop; 324 Seats; A$47.00 ($42) Top

  • Production: A Melbourne Intl. Arts Festival and Malthouse Theater presentation of a play in one act adapted by Barrie Kosky from the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Directed by Kosky.
  • Crew: Sets and costumes, Michael Zerz and Alfred Mayerhofer, adapted by Anna Tregloan; lighting, Paul Jackson; music director, Kosky; production stage manager, Claire Bourke. Opened Oct. 10, 2007. Reviewed Oct. 12. Running time: 55 MIN.
  • Cast: <b>With:</b> Martin Niedermair, Barrie Kosky.
  • Music By: