It was a cold night before Christmas when the “Tell-tale Heart” played to a packed Dorfman Theatre. This was a dramatisation drawn on Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic horror short story in which the audience is led into a suspenseful and ambiguous journey packed with gory and stomach-turning scenes which had the audience wincing and wondering. The play opens with a fairly mundane scene in an attic where we are introduced to the protagonist, a female playwrite (Tamara Lawrence), who is renting a room in Brighton in the weeks running up to Christmas as she struggles to meet a deadline. A friendship forms between her and her persistently chatty landlady (Imogen Doel), whose left eye is concealed by a large and protrusive patch. There is an electrifying moment when the landlady is persuaded by the playwrite to reveal her gruesome eye, and we discover the increasingly psychotic effect of the eye on the playwrite, as she grapples with her fixation with it and the actions she is driven to by it, exacerbated by her aversion to slippery hard-boiled eggs, which keep turning up and goading her.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, things don’t turn out well for the landlady, who finds herself lying dismembered under the floorboards of the attic room, the memory of her returning to torment the playwrite. With moving beds, haunting screams, trap doors, giant eyeballs and eggs galore, the play begins to resemble a horror show. The appearance throughout the play of the mysterious and sleuthing detective makes us question the truth of what we were being shown as the background of the playwrite’s life begins to unfold and all is not as it seems. A clever and jolting twist on Poe’s original tale which plays on the sanity and guilt of the mind as well as the readers perception of who and what is right and wrong. The play was an eye-opener (and at times an eye-tightly-shutter!) and perhaps not the most cheery note to go into the Christmas season with!