Theatre Review: Nevermore @ MacRobert

Under the direction of Rachael Sweeny and Kai Mackay, the Stirling Musical Theatre Society brought Nevermore to life, giving us insight into Edgar Allan Poe’s devastating, yet love-filled, life.

Prior to reading a few of Mr Poe’s writings myself, I was eager to see how the society would approach the extremely dark elements of his life, whilst striving to make the play itself enjoyable for the audience to watch. It is fair to say that this was achieved.

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Cast and Crew of Nevermore. Credit: Kirsty MacLeod

As Nevermore was performed by the musical theatre society, we could definitely expect some singing, and for myself personally the music was the highlight. The musicians featured were Lucy Crook, Caitlin Donaldson and Ryan Sweeny. It was spectacular, the songs were so inviting and I was captivated. The singers themselves engaged so wonderfully with the audience that you just could not look away.

One of the most striking aspects of Edgar Allan Poes’ personal life was his marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia, portrayed by Alison Marshall. Prior to seeing the play, this was an aspect in which I was curious to see how it would be handled on stage. The acting of Alison Marshall was the main focal point in this particular aspect of the play, as precious livelihood of this young girl, feeling like she was in love, without truly knowing what it means and all that comes with it was something that was done with fragility and the sense of innocence, which worked.

Although it was a musical, the acting abilities of the cast cannot go unspoken. In particular the main part of Edgar Allan Poe, portrayed by Russell MacPherson, was enticing and simply wonderful – the passion that was put into that role blew me away.

The acting and the singing of all the cast was spectacular and the casting just worked. You got the sense that you were truly watching private moments between Edgar and the five loves of his life; the complexity of the relationship he had with his deceased mother, portrayed by Kobie Clarke; the intimate, yet cold relationship with the prostitute, portrayed by Joanne Wright (I must say, her voice is spectacular); the innocence of his first love Elmira, portrayed by Kirstin Stewart; the innocent, yet bizarre relationship with his thirteen-year-old wife, Virginia; and the layered relationship he has with Virginia’s mother, Muddy, portrayed by Katherine Colvine.

Overall, the casting worked with this production of Nevermore and I look forward to seeing what Stirling University’s Musical Theatre Society has to offer with their next production!

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