Described as a gripping chiller thriller, writer
Brian Clemens' Victorian-set The Edge of Darkness
is more of a "how, who, where, when and why" than a
whodunit - which could leave you wondering whether you
were suffering from the same affliction as the central
Emma Cranwell's homecoming after a three-year
disappearance should have been good cause for
celebration. Discovered in a Dublin hospital and
suffering from acute amnesia, Emma is brought home
only to be confronted by ghosts from the past.
Everyday objects cause her great distress. She seems
to speak and understand Russian despite no apparent
connection to her past. Where has she been, and to
what traumas has she been subject so as to cause her
this harm? How will the story unfold and who would
rather it didn't?
A slow start and lead balloon clues may have you doubting your evening's choice of entertainment. The Edge of Darkness
like a poor relation to Priestley's An Inspector
Calls. However, veteran thriller writer
Clemens(who was also responsible for the cult
series The Avengers) comes through in the
second half to deliver multiple twists and an Agatha
Christie-esqe (if slightly rushed) ending, played out here to
murmurings of "I told you so" from the audience.
Liza Goddard and Tony Scannell (Roach in The
Bill) provide the parentage for poor Emma and a
jolly fine job of it they do, too. The depth of
performance is commendable given the seeming lack of
support from the author.
Clare McGlinn (Charlie Ramsden in Coronation
Street) takes on the role of Emma. This is
undoubtedly a hard part - disturbed amnesiacs not being
particularly easy to play - but, nevertheless, McGlinn's delivery is
somewhat flat, monotone and under-developed.
Under Howard Ross' direction, the staging is clean
and well developed, while Mark Alexander provides the
finishing touches with sympathetic lighting
(although watch out of some back-stage shadowing which
can be a little off-putting).
It may not exactly have you on the edge of your seats, but The Edge of Darkness still warrants a visit, particularly if you brave through to the interval and on into the superior second half.
- Claire Storey (reviewed at New Victoria Theatre, Woking)