Blancheblanche marvin's london theatreviews

recommended by Peter Brook
**** = stand if necessary
*** = sit in front stalls
** = sit in back stalls
* = have a drink!
writer/ performer JUSTIN BUTCHER director GUY MASTERSON décor SARAH JUNE MILLS music/sound JACK C. ARNOLD. Review by Peter Bull.
Attending a one-man show is a risky business. Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen have inadvertently been responsible for many a long and directionless evening in the theatre while actors try to keep busy during periods of unemployment. There are obviously exceptions but it is a real treat to stumble upon one that is not only highly original but genuinely thrilling. In his self-penned THE DEVIL’S PASSION, Justin Butcher gives us the Easter story from Satan’s perspective. The narrative is familiar to us all. Or is it ? As charismatic as Milton’s Lucifer, this fallen angel is dangerously persuasive in his arguments for a life that eschews the bland but he shares his frustration at witnessing Jesus’ successful ministry. This is where Butcher’s skills as a performer take his literate script into the realms of compelling drama. Suffused with resentment, the descriptions of familiar Gospel stories take on a disturbing immediacy and the sweat that cascades from Butcher at the end of Act One is transformed into steam by the character’s rage. His physical grace only adds to the mesmerising effect as, with subtle detail, he takes on a range of human and non-human personalities. Guy Masterson has directed with a deceptive simplicity that allows the Prince of Darkness to make his case as seductively as any successful demagogue whilst drawing us inexorably towards his downfall. Satan’s antics at the foot of the cross slowly turn to a realisation that he has been vanquished and the sequence is as cathartic as any in Shakespeare or Sophocles. Mention should be made of the superb soundtrack of perfectly timed music and effects which add even greater depth to this revelatory piece of theatre. The venue - a 12th century crypt - only adds to the experience but dress warm ! Import no export.
March 29 - April16/16