The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart

National Theatre · 05 DEC - 09 JAN

The Tell-Tale Heart is a twisted, graphic and darkly-comic treat.

Lyn Gardner avatar
29 November 2018  ·  Follow on Stagedoor
“A deliciously nasty Xmas treat, both sparky and spooky. The gothic horror of Poe’s original is fully embraced—but it is over-laid with a deliciously comic edge, and Neilson’s trademark application of the surreal is superbly employed to examine how the mind plays tricks on us.”


A young playwright rents an attic flat in Brighton, hoping it will break the writer’s block that’s preventing her from following up on her wildly successful debut. Whilst there, she forms a relationship with her landlady, a lonely young woman with a life-altering condition.

But pressure mounts on the writer, and her relationship with the landlady becomes ever-more suffocating.

Please note: This production contains provocative language, some violent scenes, and moments and themes that some people may find distressing; you can find out more in our Help centre.

Renowned for his ground-breaking work, Anthony Neilson (The Prudes, Unreachable, The Wonderful World of Dissocia) makes his National Theatre debut with this contemporary reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale of a haunted conscience.

Critic reviews

Festive fun of the most delectably terrifying kind

The Telegraph

In act two he deconstructs and deconstructs, piling on more and more plot twists until they loose any power to shock

London Box Office

It's all skilfully done, funny and frightening by turns


Poe story becomes brilliantly creepy stage shocker

The Guardian

It’s a little crazy and crude, but, despite the occasional relapses into self-reference, Anthony Neilson’s story works

The Times

If the show doesn’t seem to have any decipherable hinterland, at least the land itself affords an exhilarating hike

Financial Times

Anthony Neilson’s very funny, very gory Edgar Allan Poe adaptation is a hoot

Time Out

Deliciously destabilising drama is a tale worth telling

Evening Standard

Enjoyably schlocky adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's macabre short story

The Stage

Date & time

Show ended
Wed 5 Dec - Wed 9 Jan, 2.30pm & 7.30pm


National Theatre
South Bank SE1 9PX London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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