Theatre review: The Burial of the Rats

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Inspired by Bram Stoker's short story set against the backdrop of the dispossessed of 1850s Paris, this colourful adaptation actually improves on the source material.

theSpace on Niddry St (Venue 9)

***

A young British man, forbidden to see his fiancée for a year, travels Europe hoping to see her likeness again in art so he can paint it. This quest leads him to a shanty town on the outskirts of Paris where he encounters a motley bunch of old soldiers and revolutionaries.

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This fluid and colourful adaptation is far more concerned with evoking the period than providing chills and is all the more interesting for it. The large, impressively costumed, ensemble continually move from scene to scene, evoking both café society and the squalor of the shanty towns at its outskirts.

While Stoker’s (somewhat dry) original tale was primarily a creeper with a subtext about urban planning, Simon Coxall’s production forgoes genre trappings for a psychological study about the effects of war and deprivation. At 90 minutes this stretches the slight original story to near-breaking point but it remains a handsomely mounted, entertaining production that holds your attention throughout.

Until 11 August. Today 10:15pm.