HP Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft set in Antarctica, in which a university professor recounts the horrors he witnessed on a research trip in a bid to dissuade another scholar from making a similar trip. He tells of the journey south on the boat, the first sight of the southern continent, and the initial optimism of the party who enjoy success in their research. Things begin to go wrong, however, when one party takes a trip and discovers something in the mountains that has been buried for a long time.

I hadn’t previously read this particular Lovecraft tale, though I love anything to do with Antarctica. Why not just read the story? Why pay to see this theatre production by the Icarus Collective? The key is Tim Hardy’s performance. He completely inhabits the mind of a man scarred forever by what he has seen, delivering a performance of frightening intensity. There were several moments when I was genuinely scared. His delivery is varied and compelling, broken up by recorded accounts from other unfortunate expedition participants. The special effects, which consist of clever sound and lighting, work well within the context of the show. Whether you are a Lovecraft fan or just curious, this show is worth seeing.

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