The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere is a new piece of work that is currently at BasicSpace in Peckham. Before we start, there is one thing that needs to be made clear. We are not looking at your average tale with Edward J. Neverwhere here. Edward (William Sebag-Montefiore) is not real, he is the paper creation of a young boy who needs a friend of his own to help him cope with the awful home life he has. The boy shares everything he can with Edward, including his most prized possession and for his part, Edward promises to always be with his young friend. However, things change and as the boy changes, so does Edward, who finds that the only certainty in life is that one day it will end.
Paper dominates this performance of The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere and on entering the performance space the audience is free to wander around and read the hundreds of letters on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. This was quite a fascinating experience as each letter I read was unique in handwriting and content but each discussed love from some angle. After a while, we took our places with Edward – dressed in superb style in a suit made of newspaper (great work by Designer Jessica Sparling). The locale used for this production is very appropriate and there really is something about The BasicSpace that gives the impression something mysterious and magical could be just around the corner.
William has a lovely delivery which ensures that attention never wanders as he gives us Writer/Director Igor Memic’s story. There are some lovely moments in the narrative and I was particularly entranced with the idea of reserving your burial plot so that no matter what happened in or where you went during life’s tumultuous journey, you always knew where you would end up. The other part I really enjoyed was the use of a cassette – very impressed that the production team managed to find a working cassette player and cassettes to play – to give the audience the experience of the boy’s life first hand and really emphasise just how awful it was and why he created Edward. I did feel that there was more to tell of Edward’s story. I can’t really say where I felt the gaps were – as that would involve some serious spoiler moments – but I did feel the production could have benefited with a bit more expansion with the roughly one-hour running time being expanded to accommodate the extra information.
Having said that, I did find the performance of The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere was every bit as intriguing as the title itself. We have all had imaginary friends who are the only ones we can rely on when all around is going to hell in a handcart and this production takes that normal part of being human and expands it to the point where perhaps the imaginary becomes real and the real becomes imaginary. A nicely put together tale presented in excellent style by a master story teller.
Review by Terry Eastham
The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere is the story of a man made entirely of newspaper. This play explores the journey of his relationships with the boy who created him and the woman he loves.
William Sebag-Montefiore will play the Role of Edward J. Neverwhere.
William trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. His recent credits include the Sonnet Walks for Shakespeare’s Globe, sitcom Whipped for Koto Films and short-film Retreat by Tom Nicoll. He is co-founder of sketch group Just These, Please, member of Improv troupe Very Serious People and regularly writes for the News Revue.
Infinity Theatre Presents:
The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere
By Igor Memic
Safehouse 1, 139 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN