Guest reviewer: Jari Laakso
A new musical play, The Sorrows of Satan, by Luke Bateman and Michael Conley has opened for a run of streamed performances. We were invited to preview the quirky comedy adaptation of the Faust story filmed at the stunning Brocket Hall.
Geoffrey Tempest (Bateman), a failed playwright, is preparing to present his masterpiece ‘The Sorrows of Satan’ to the London’s theatre community. His patron Prince Lucio Rimanez (Conley) makes a daring proposition to Geoffrey, to ensure his play to be a success with his assistance, but at a cost. Geoffrey is left with the dilemma of following his own artistic integrity or the chance of becoming rich and famous.
This is a play within a play, where art quickly starts to imitate real life. Conley’s book captures perfectly the tone of the 1920s London elite, that is bubbly and sprightly like champagne. Bateman’s score fully comes to life in the comedy solos that have Cole Porter and Noel Coward-esque flair in the rhythms and witty wordplay. The play with music concept gives the evening a feeling of a classy cocktail party but in parts, I would have wished for a few more songs to speed up the proceedings.
The comedy solos really showcase the cast of four well. In particular, the devilishly delicious ‘Tatarus’, performed by a Conley, is a real gear shift in the show. It is followed by Stefan Bednarczyk’s (who also plays the show’s score on the piano) well-calculated Act 2 opening number that resembles in delivery the deadpan wit of Tom Lehrer. Also, Molly Lynch’s song about men and women hits all the comic spots and truly showcases her brilliant vocals.
Adam Lenson’s production is slick and filmed to a high standard. It finds a beautiful home at the Brocket Hall, giving the luxurious feel the piece requires.