Suspenseful and creepy, but do we really care?

An intriguing story: in 1959, a science teacher leads eight of his brightest Magic Valley Liberal Arts College students deep into an Idaho desert.

They are, naturally, never seen again, but letters they've written to their families turn up in a mysterious black cube and describe strange, other-worldly experiences.

The beginning of the story is told by the show's creator, Simon Wilkinson, and it's then picked up by eight of a pool of 16 Logan Park pupils who alternate between performing and front-of-house duties.

Those performing last night did so confidently and with perfect timing, reading excerpts from the students' letters that tell of increasingly peculiar feelings, tingling, numbness, sickness and a ''man who wasn't a man''.

Digital sound is accompanied by splendidly creepy musical improvisation from Trevor Coleman.

While we listen, we watch a screen where images at first depict the complacent, consumerist 1950s, then shade into footage on nuclear weapons tests and old horror movies.

An atmosphere of suspense and mystery is successfully created, but it doesn't feel genuinely scary.

It isn't clear whether this curious event was covered up or just forgotten about until Wilkinson persuaded a museum to let him look at artefacts related to the story.

Rational explanations along the lines of hoaxes, group delusions and psychotic drugs readily come to mind.

People with a taste for tales of the unexplained, or theories of conspiracies or alien abductions, will love Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere. For the sceptical reviewer, though, it didn't pass the ''So what?'' test.

-By Barbara Frame

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