Star rating: ****
Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)
But when Angus Barr and Sarah Corbett finally step out in front of us, all is soon revealed: the chaos that surrounds them is skilfully choreographed.
Anyone turning up to enjoy a biographical retelling of that most talented but tragic of families, the Brontës – or indeed a stage adaptation of one of their books – will be sadly disappointed. For those open to a little foolishness and irreverence, born out of a love for Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell, it’s a hoot.
Dressed in Victorian garb and wearing preposterous wigs, Barr and Corbett invite us to journey with them to Yorkshire. There we encounter creativity, hardship and very bad weather. Barr quickly disabuses the audience of any notion we might have about a serious re-enactment. He and Corbett are, he tells us, “an amalgam” of the Brontë siblings and the characters and stories they so cleverly constructed.
Some references are easier to spot than others – Jane Eyre wandering around Thornfield Hall, Heathcliff scouring the moors for Cathy – and any number of people dying of tuberculosis. But attempting to spot who’s who is part of the fun, even if you haven’t got a clue. Besides, as the performers point out, most people are only there because they love Kate Bush.
Barr’s talent for deadpan delivery is boundless; each time he opens his mouth you know something funny will come out. Corbett talks far less, because her facial expressions say it all. Both are masters of their art.
Until 14 August