Photo Credit: DramaSoc
Venue: Drama Barn
Hell is empty and all the devils are here, and having trouble with their student accommodation. That’s the rough basis of DramaSoc’s most recent Open Drama Night, which showed this Monday to what was a pretty packed crowd.
The Seven Lords of Hell, each corresponding to one of the Seven Deadly Sins, are all sharing a house somewhere in York. There’s Satan (Wrath), Lucifer (Pride), Beezlebub (Gluttony), Mammon (Greed), Leviathan (Envy), Belphegor (Sloth) and Asmodeus (Lust), all updated for the 21st century. These days, Satan is channeling her wrath into anti-patriarchal slogans, Mammon’s doing PPE and Asmodeus is having to make do with the basement as an impromptu sex dungeon. I heard a couple of comments that it would have been nice had all this mythology been laid out at the start, but for my own part I thought things became clear quickly enough.
The plot kicks in when Satan moves out. Even the eldritch horrors, plumbed from the basest urges of man, don’t like dealing with rising rent prices, so the for rest of the play there is a scramble to find a replacement. Along the way, there’s a dispute on the nature of cake, mediations on the colour blue and running gags; an advert from the Dark Lord C’thulhu for Doritos and Mountain Dew; and a memorable scene with a man and a woman in underwear with a spanner.
The dynamics between characters wasn’t bad and neither was the performance, bar a few niggles with remembering lines (such are the perils of being the character who has to speak in rhyming couplets). Special mentions go to Lewis Crook’s flaunting Lucifer, Jess Patton’s incredibly northern Mammon and Ged Unsworth sitting in the back as Belphegor, chiming in with a rambling non-sequitur whenever needed (and, more often than not, where it wasn’t). The potential roommates provide a plethora of cameos – chief amongst them would be Ross Cronshaw as Joseph, who probably got the biggest laughs of the night.
And then there’s a devil in one final detail. The actual scripted play ran for 50 minutes – after that, the mystery housemate emerged (without any of the actors being told who it was beforehand) and the cast were left to improvise. While that section didn’t run too long, to the actors’ credit it was hard to tell when the improvised section kicked in.
Overall, the night was a good one, between the performances from the actors and debuting writer/director Bob Horton’s script. Open Drama Nights have always been a good way to shine a spotlight on new student talent, and after Monday’s performance I’ll be following them with interest. I recommend you do so too.