Review: Murder He Wrote (a Dickens of an Hour)

Jean-Paul Fournier BTR writer and part-time nightmare stan

Masterfully macabre and gloriously grisly, “Murder He Wrote: A Dickens of an Hour” is storytelling at its finest.

Written and originally performed by Charles Dickens, we get a double feature of thrilling fiction with the blood curdling tale of “The Murder of Nancy”, coupled with the gruesome short “Captain Murderer”. Each story delivering Dickens’ flare for ruthless violence, sinister suspense, and a dash of demented humor, all skillfully performed by John D. Huston.

With simple gestures (a quick wave of a hand, a point of a finger and a raise of an eyebrow glancing at a in a particular direction), Huston paints a vivid picture of deplorable characters performing ghastly deeds while hiding in the streets, climbing buildings, and even mistakenly trusting the comforts of one’s home. Both nasty narratives are reminiscent of the finer programs played on Old Time Radio horror shows (which coincidentally was often broadcasting the works of Dickens), and are elevated by Huston’s talented character work, sharp direction, and adept control over pace and momentum. The transitions from ghoulish villains, troubled souls, and every other character in between is so smooth, I quickly forgot I was watching one man perform them all.

“Murder He Wrote: A Dickens of an Hour” is quite simply a first-rate storyteller telling stories from one of the world’s highest-quality storywriters. It is no wonder this show has continually sold out in past Fringe festivals.

This is the type of show that makes me happy the Fringe is back up and running again.


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