Luke Bateman and Michael Conley (who was so excellent in The Fabulist Fox Sister recently) take on the leading roles of tedious writer Geoffrey Tempest and duplicitous Prince Lucio in this digital revival of their take on the Faust legend.
With actors mysteriously disappearing, and Tempest’s musical style proving to be somewhat one-note, the new setting of Brocket Hall heightens the Wildean and Cowardian feel of this drawing room musical comedy.
Directed by Adam Lenson, with Molly Lynch as The Woman and Stefan Bednarczyk as the mute accompanist, The Sorrows of Satan takes inspiration from Marie Corelli’s 1895 novel, but moves the action to a freer age in 1924.
Conley’s performance is lively, entertaining and enthusiastic (and Lucio’s compositions are certainly better than Tempest’s). Lynch is fully in on the joke of her “lady is who not very fair”), while Bateman is a mass of repressed emotions as the creative hungry for “fame, wealth and love”.
Watched over by towering portraits of the Prince Regent and Charles I, the quartet of characters build up their show in rehearsal as the wordplay whizzes along and music jiggles in amusement.
There is much fun to be had as Tempest’s tasteful opus is subverted with sex and chorus girls, rather than his predictable touch of operetta. The role of The Woman shows the fate of the flapper, however free they appear.
It may be a tad overlong, but that is also true of many 1920s musical comedies, and this is played with such tongue in cheek dedication it is hard not to engage and enjoy this twist on a well-known tale.
The Sorrows of Satan streams until 9 May: purchase your tickets here.
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