Carnival Of Crows, Vault Festival – Review

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Molly Beth Morossa as Polly

Carnivals have long been a place where the unusual, the ‘asymmetrical’ and the rejected find ‘their place in the world’. It is there, perhaps, that the most interesting and disturbing stories can be found… Written and performed by Molly Beth Morossa, Carnival Of Crows takes a macabre look at one of Victoriana’s favourite pastimes. Seen through the eyes of Poppy, the show examines her friendship with Virginia the fortune teller and the hold that proprietor Edward B. Friday has on the other acts.

As Poppy gives a rundown of the other performers (such as the the Laudanum Sisters) and their respective backstories, Morossa paints a mosaic of interconnecting narratives that are evocative of the style and meter of Edgar Allen Poe. Casting a large shadow over the rest of the tale, Edward’s willingness to make money in any way possible ends up being detrimental in the long run, leading to a disastrous chain of events…

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In a show like this, the devil is in the detail and while ‘Edward’ has more than his fair share of deliciously caustic and unabashed confessions, it’s as Polly that Morossa’s wit is most evident – often throwing ‘shade’ on unpleasant people and situations.

With its authentic brooding atmosphere, and its playful use of sound, lighting and puppets, Carnival Of Crows is the sort of show you could imagine Tim Burton revelling in – intertwining gallows humour with a wry sense of what is truly the dark side of human nature.

© Michael Davis 2019

Carnival Of Crows runs at the Vault Festival until 17th February.

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