Edith In The Dark by Philip Meeks
Edith Nesbit, the famous writer known world wide for her children’s books, like the Railway Children (also adapted for film and television), had previously been known for her haunting eerie stories. This play mixes reality and imagined encounters on Christmas Eve 1909. As midnight swiftly approaches she is in her attic writing room with a stranger, who has gate-crashed her husband’s party which is going on downstairs. Joined by her rather tipsy housekeeper, Edith Nesbit starts reading from some of her terrifying early stories, which are then enacted by these three people. Seen today, these stories are not without some humour. As the stories unfold it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Someone in the attic is hiding a deadly secret. Edith in the Dark is a haunting glimpse into the nightmarish inner world of an author whose reputation for cosy childhood innocence is only half the story.
The real Edith was a woman of many parts, with her husband Hubert Bland, they were founder members of the Fabian Society. He was a serial adulterer, so she also had affairs, whether in revenge or not is not known. Famously she had a liaison with George Bernard Shaw. However she had to put up with her husband’s mistress and their children living with them, adopting the children, and pretending that the mistress was the housekeeper, (not the housekeeper in this play). Her own son died after an operation. The dark stories seem to have come out of her struggle to come to terms with her inner conflicts as a result of this complex personal life.
Directed by Sarah Clarke, who directed Gasping last season. Tickets on sale from 23rd April
In rehearsal, Teresa Quigley as Edith, Mark Aspland as Mr Guasto and Sarah Parker as Biddy Thricefold.