BWW Reviews: PARADISE LOST, Trinity Buoy Wharf, May 31 2013


It's not often that BWW:UK's reviews start with a reference to a 5th century Christian heresy, but this one will. I've always been rather attracted to Pelagianism, particularly its "...belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid." What is all this original sin stuff about anyway?

Fresh from their well-received Project Colony, their disquieting vision of Kafka's dystopia, Fourth Monkey are back amongst the old industrial buildings of London's Docklands with another take on an iconic work - this time Milton's Paradise Lost. Using almost exclusively verses from the poem, we get the war between the angels, Satan's descent to hell with his masked cohorts, the Garden of Eden, the satanic snake's tempting of Eve with the forbidden fruit and Adam's eventual complicity in Original Sin.

That would be quite hard work for a Friday night out, but the young ensemble cast, though varying in their command of blank verse, keep the pace up under Ailin Conant's assured direction and inject plenty of movement to convey the torments visited on Man and Angel during the rebellion against God's will. There's serenity and song too in the idylic, soon to be lost, Eden of Adam and Eve. It's not just the cast on their feet and on the move, we too are ushered between Heaven, Earth and Hell, as the action takes place all around us in Fourth Monkey's signature immersive style.

This version of Paradise Lost is, in keeping with its venue in the basement of an old warehouse on a wharf, raw rather than polished, but it gets its ideas across and gives an insight into the concept of Original Sin, the influence of which is all around us, even today.

Paradise Lost continues at Trinity Buoy Wharf until 22 June.

Photo credit Sebastien Dehesdin.

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