18 August 2007

Pain is so close to pleasure

Richard O'Brien's Mephistopheles Smith, St Augustines

A revival of Richard O'Brien's decade old fringe show, Devilishly Yours, about hell's own evangelist, the now titular Mephistopheles Smith. Comparison's with O'Brien's smash hit Rocky Horror Show are inevitable in a musical show celebrating licence and pleasure, and in terms of music the show more than holds it's own (so to speak). The majority of songs are catchy and well-constructed, with a couple (such as The Best Is Yet To Come) lingering on in the memory. The script asks a lot of the three performers and, as there is no real narrative to speak of, Smith must have charisma to spare to carry the audience along with the show. O'Brien himself probably had it but Paul Roberts, former Stranglers vocalist (no, none of the ones you've heard of) sadly hasn't. As his devilettes Roxanne Palmer is suitably sexy and sleazy but, on this evidence, Francesca Casey has little idea of dramatic timing or expression. A wasted opportunity.

NTW : Singing to backing tapes - Grr!

JTD : Coping well with a venue that has a pillar in the centre of the stage.

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