Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe a Musical by Jonathan Christenson
The Edge Theater, Chicago, IL, USA, January 14, 2018
Review by Maja Rios
My first time at Edge Theater, let me say that the theater is beautiful; nice seats, large stage, modern décor, new theater. However the
Black Button Eyes production of “Nevermore” was a disappointment. Mostly a musical with sung rhyming text and very little dialogue, was a fantasy romp through Poe’s supposed biography. Unfortunately, no poetry or texts of Poe were spoken. Instead, a silly, comedic corny romp of “Poe’s life” was executed by confusing fiction and reality into unintelligible stew.
Good voices and costumes were marred by a poor script and concept. The good actor/singers would have been better utilized in a more traditional drama of Poe’s words and life instead of over the top production and unclear mix of historical reality and fiction.
Operatic singing style and garish costumes could not save the most important part of any play, the script!
The Poe character looked every bit the actual Poe, but was wasted on terrible, hard to make out singing text. Alas “Nevermore,” the title would be a word to describe the feeble attempt to portray a great writer’s sad life in such a silly comedic “Gilbert and Sullivan” type way.
(Writer, Composer, Lyricist, Director) Jonathan is a director, playwright and composer and the artistic director of Canada’s Catalyst Theatre. His plays – Vigilante, The Soul Collector, Nevermore – The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, The Blue Orphan, and The House of Pootsie Plunket, to name a few – have appeared at theatres throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, the U.S. and Canada and at such festivals as the London International Festival of Theatre, Luminato, Le Carrefour, The High Performance Rodeo, The PuSh Festival, and Magnetic North. His work as a writer, director and composer has been honoured by Canada’s Sterling, Betty Mitchell and SAT Awards, Scotland’s Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards, and the City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence Awards. He has also received multiple nominations for the UK’s Stage Awards, the Dora Awards, and the Alberta Book Awards. In 2011, Venture Magazine named him one of “Alberta’s Fifty Most Influential People” and Alberta Playwrights Network chose him as one of Alberta’s one hundred most significant theatre artists of the past one hundred years. His plays have been published by Playwrights Canada Press and Newest Press and his work has been featured in American Theatre, Canadian Theatre Review, PRISM International, Canada World View and All Stages Magazine. Last year Bayeux Arts published his first children’s book, Maximilian’s Mistake.