Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Nick Coyle has always had a propensity for the twisted and a flair for the dramatic.
Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)
And he channels both to good effect in this Gothic horror pastiche, with shades of the Brontës and The Turn of the Screw. Considering that this is a one-man production, with the story almost wholly conveyed via the monologue of his character, a poor, plain wretched governess by the name of Frances Glass, the chilling atmosphere the Australian evokes keeps you on the edge of your seat, the simple set cloaking a frightening darkness.
Finding on arrival that the children she was charged with tutoring are dead, Frances accepts an offer from her mysterious patron to house-sit their stately family pile. Scared out of her wits by what she finds tidying the rooms, she nevertheless forms a bond of sorts with the late lady of the house. Full of quirky similes and witty asides the script is consistently amusing. And Coyle imbues Frances with a compelling hysteria, as the plot cranks, via pop starlet Selena Gomez, towards its dread conclusion. Ultimately, the balance is tipped too heavily towards horror but it’s a winning spoof nevertheless.