"Deadly dance to the electric chair...'

The making of an all-American murderer offers a Brighton Fringe look at 'latter-day Macbeths on a deadly dance to the electric chair.'

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 9:08 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:32 am

Hummingbird promise a darkly-beautiful story of love and murder at The Warren on May 18 at 6.15pm and May 20-21 at 4pm.

Spokeman Adam Gordon said: “This physical theatre production by young, Lecoq-trained company Tooth+Nail is acrobatic, delicately seductive and spiked with black humour.

“Like latter-day Macbeths Ralph Conti and Edith Cole lead each other ever further into darkness along a path that ultimately leads to the electric chair.

“The show is inspired by the infamous Lonely Hearts Killers who entrapped their victims through newspaper small ads in the USA in the early 1950s. From this starting point Tooth+Nail have crafted a production that is highly physical with a distinctive visual style – more a tapestry of fragments and clues than a straightforward three-act drama.

“In telling their tale the cast of three have blended acting and acrobatics in order to vividly convey emotions and morals teetering on a deadly brink.”

Harriet Feeny (28), who plays Edith, said: “It’s easy to see her as the victim of a powerful man, but I don’t think that’s accurate. They are in love, each giving the other permission to go further.”

One of the big questions in the case of the real killers, Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck, was which one of them used violence first and why.

Francois Lecomte (25), who takes the role of Ralph, said: “They are misfits and the one thing they have is each other. It’s all about the dynamic between them. Had they never met it seems unlikely that either of them would have ended up as killers.”

Adam added: “Hummingbird uses a lush soundscape of songs, jingles, adverts and other Americana to conjure up the post-war era. This also casts light on the motivation of a couple that believes owning the right car will buy them entry into a society that has rejected them.

We really wanted to draw out the similarities between their time and ours, and address some of the social issues that lead them down this path of deceit and violence.”

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck were sent to the electric chair on 8 March 1951. Fernandez’ final words were: “I wanna shout it out; I love Martha! What do the public know about love?” and Beck was reported to have said: “My story is a love story. But only those tortured by love can know what I mean.”

Adam, Harriet and Francois teamed up while training at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, where they formed the company in 2014.

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