Review: Edgar and Me @ Theatre Delicatessen on the Moor

Edgar letter

Charlotte Blackburn has been writing to Edgar Garcia for four years. Edgar is on Death Row in Terre Haute prison, Indiana. Charlotte lives in Sheffield. Through the letters he returns to Charlotte we learn about his life, his art and their friendship.

Edgar and Me is an interactive and deceptively simple piece of theatre. The audience walks into the theatre space where Charlotte is already sitting at a table, writing, with a pile of letters at her side. She addresses the audience directly, draws us into her world and carries us through a well-paced revelation of a developing friendship and an unfolding of a fascinating life story.

Edgar CharlotteUsing visual images of Edgar’s artwork, a recording of the rules of the Terre Haute prison and by asking members of the audience to read aloud at times, the performance feels fresh and unpredictable. The easy handing over of a piece of paper from one person to another is a sharp reminder of the impossible miles between Charlotte and Edgar. It is also something that can only be done in live theatre. Towards the end of the show we learn that Charlotte ‘almost’ visited Edgar but it was too far, and also that she has hoped he will telephone her, but she is still waiting. As, we understand, he is still waiting.

Charlotte and director Tim Norwood created Edgar and Me together. Charlotte read out the letters, they selected the most interesting sections and Tim directed the performance.

Edgar and Charlotte

Charlotte and Tim are resident artists at Theatre Delicatessen based in the old Woolworths on The Moor. They met through a light entertainment society at Sheffield University. Tim is from Manchester with a Masters in Theatre. Charlotte is from Sheffield with a Masters in Performance. Together they created Northern Art to showcase talent from Sheffield and the North.  Northern Art first ran in December 2014, and has welcomed over thirty brilliant new artists to the Sheffield stage.

Their work draws people into the performance, be it through discussion, handing control of the piece over to the audience, or simply presenting them with a candid, open experience. They also run the Northern Art festival, a pay-what-you-decide showcase for emerging performing artists based in the North.

Listen to an earlier interview with Charlotte on Sheffield LiveEdgar and Me has previously been performed in Leeds and Brussels, will be travelling to London and was performed at Theatre Delicatessen on the Moor 1-3rd June 2016.