Satan: “What are the top three human fears? Drumroll, please! Number three… dancing. Number two… singing… and the number one human fear? Anyone?”
Audience member: “Death?”
Satan: ‘No! Public speaking! You’re not afraid of dying, you’re afraid of having your voice heard!’
This is just one poignant observation about our lives of many in An Evening with Satan – playing at New City Legion during the Fringe Festival. Whether you’re interested in some (perhaps offensively delivered) advice about how to enjoy living your life, or are interested in an alternative telling of Satan’s fall from grace, An Evening with Satan is a must-see in this year’s Fringe.
As Satan, Elliott James commands your attention with striking force and doesn’t let go. James’s stage presence is a perfect portrayal of Satan – whose only objective (or so he tells us) is to invade our minds with his story and mess around a little. What does that messing around reveal? Be prepared to leave New City Legion with a view of Satan, not as pure evil, but as a lover of living freely. While re-telling Satan’s story isn’t a new plot line, James’ acting, persona, and “games” – that’s right, there’s audience participation – bring the story to life in a way that’s entirely relatable.
While the show rests largely on James’s larger-than-life portrayal of Satan, he gets some help from Beelzebub, played by Elizabeth Hobbs. While Hobbs doesn’t have much stage-time – and no lines – the time she spends on stage adds a stirring dimension to the performance. Her facial expressions, hellish make-up, and physical movements are fantastic – conveying raw and primal emotions and providing a stark contrast to the easily excitable, but rarely emotional, James/Satan.
A final shout-out to Camille Maltais, the Set/Costume Designer. Make sure to check out the props on the stage – the design of the sheet covering the chair when you enter the venue, the creepy additions to Satan’s throne and, most of all, the painting on the two boxes on the stage – set the tone of quickly, and add an extra “creepy” factor that keeps you in check while Satan is preaching about how wonderful it is to live with no rules and no guilt.
See it if: you have a dark sense of humor, you enjoy strong characters, or you’re not easily offended.
Tickets are $12.50 or $10 for students and seniors. An Evening with Satan runs for 40 minutes. Remaining shows are: August 18-21, 23-26. An Evening with Satan’s schedule can be found on the Fringe Theatre Adventures website or YEGlive.ca.