Death by Chocolate: The Sorrowful Tale of Sleeping Sidney comes to Brighton Fringe

Daisy and the Urchins
Daisy and the Urchins

The sinister tale of the Brighton Chocolate Cream Poisoner is brought to life by puppeteer Daisy Jordan for Brighton Fringe 2018.

Barely Human Puppets was founded in 2012 and has performed across the UK including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with its production of Beowulf.

Now Daisy is returning to her love of Victorian history with The Sorrowful Tale of Sleeping Sidney, a re-imagining of the true story of Christiana Edmunds, dubbed the Chocolate Cream Killer, who terrorised Brighton with a string of poisonings in 1870.

"It demonstrates the contrast of the macabre and the sweet," says Daisy, whose darkly comic take on the tale examines the hypocrisies of Victorian society.

Christiana was undergoing treatment for hysteria when she became infatuated with her doctor, an obsession that would lead her down a dark path.

“Women were seen as perfect, angelic, unsexualised. They were treated like porcelain dolls,” says Daisy.

The play explores the poison lurking inside this idealised image of women.

Daisy explores the extreme repression felt by many Victorian women who had no outlet for their desires.

However, she didn't want the play to be portrayed entirely from Christina's perspective.

The seven characters include two exploited, homeless children who unknowingly distribute Christiana's poisoned chocolates throughout the city.

This reflects the social angle of the play, referencing the divide between the rich and poor, that is very much present in modern British society.

As for the puppets themselves, Daisy believes they add a frightening edge as they are so good at showing the grotesque and allow the audience to project their own emotions onto them.

Co-written and co-directed by Ulysses Black, the play features a musical score written and performed by Kate Daisy Grant, featuring Nick Pynn on saw and fiddle.

The Sorrowful Tale of Sleeping Sidney is playing at the Sweet Dukebox, Hove, at 7:45pm from May 7 to 13.