Stan Won’t Dance, Revelations

Review in Issue 19-1 | Spring 2007

When a production fails so spectacularly that you leave feeling angry, it’s vital to analyse why. Upon closer inspection the issues may be subjective, yet unfortunately the serious flaws in Revelations were not merely down to taste.

Michael Pavelka’s set – a twenty-foot metal-girdered sphere within which the domestic drama unfolds – provided a climbing, crawling, hanging frame for the show’s complement of crassly demonic (over-sexed, gurning, hissing) demons. The choreography – working on the principle that every movement of the couple in the ‘real world’ of the sphere was initiated by nudges delivered, sometimes ingeniously, by one of their personal devils – must have looked great on paper, but in action felt clunky and forced. The central performances were hampered by this, or perhaps were simply bad.

Our compere, Liam Steele, taking all the best lines as Satan himself, tried gamely to convince in his bizarre hybrid of Richard O’Brien’s flamboyance, the northern camp of Lily Savage and oversimplified pop psychology of Raj Persaud, but the character was horribly misjudged. The directors illustrated the effect of Satan’s wrath in images that referenced the Iraq war, 9/11, and nuclear holocaust, whilst this figure was about as threatening as a panto dame. These reference points were cheapened by appearing in such an arrogant, thoughtless frame, but even this was eclipsed by its treatment of the central relationship. The show seemed to be remarking upon fatalism – why worry about protesting about war and suffering when it’s all the devil’s doing and not our own? – but the decision to illustrate this using a relationship breaking down because – wait for it – the man wanted to love, whilst the woman (Godfearing of course) could only feel wanted when beaten and abused, was merely bizarre and offensive.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-1
p. 27