(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)
“Sinfully clever choreography and well worth getting up a little early for” – such was the assessment I made of this show at the time. A pretty accurate summation, I’d say. This was wonderful little exhibition piece detailing the various circles of hell, performed with enthusiasm and precision.
The choreography really was the heart of this piece, and what made it such an artful piece of theatre. The physical theatre used to render the different horrors supposedly awaiting sinners was equal parts charming, disturbing, and chuckle-worthy. The piece had a very precise and unfaltering rhythm, making it a reliable and enjoyable journey to be taken on. You knew basically what you were going to see with this piece, it wasn’t about surprises or plot-twists because it wasn’t a plot-based play but more, as I said, an exhibition and an exploration of Hell as we classically understand it. In some ways, it was like going on a theme park ride, and a particularly fun and creepy one at that.
The cast all immersed themselves in the piece fabulously. Isabel McGrady made for an ideal audience surrogate as Bella and proved her emotional range as her character’s journey became more and more distressing. Patrick Palmer was likewise perfectly slimy and skin-crawling as Lucifer, disappearing into his role and bringing multiple edges to it. The wider ensemble were all delightful too but Fionna Monk undoubtedly stood out, with her voice, presence, and range often easily carrying over others in group scenes and being particularly humorous in her focal scene that I believe corresponded to Wrath.
I always enjoy stage renderings of Hell (I’ve seen more than you might expect in my time) but this was a particularly fine and inventive rendering of Hell. It hit all the classic tropes you would expect, but did so very inventively. From the simple yet unnerving creation of a lift descending and ascending to the unexpected use of Despacito, there was a hell of a lot to love about this production from Wrong Tree Theatre.