The Demon

On the Wild Side       * * *

Why demons, when man himself is a demon? Thus wrote 'Isaac Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature. One of the great storytellers of the twentieth century, his writing is a potent mix of religious morality and dark personal desires. It provides Viktor Sobchak, writer/director and recent winner of the 2011 London Fringe Outstanding Achievement Award, with rich ingredients for his latest stage adaptation, Singerís story/play,    The Demon. Gripping, heartbreaking, saturated in the passions of life, it is a tragi-comic tale of lies, deception, love and lust.

There is a lack of attention to detail here and there, eg a Rabbi conducting a marriage service wearing neither skull cap nor prayer shawl, but as usual there is great energy from this company and passionate performances all round. Most moving were Robin Jordan as the driven, tragic Aaron/Demon and Marusiya Kalinina as the beautiful, manipulated Sarah. Battling demons from without and within, hers is a powerful portrayal of conflicting emotional and sexual grasping, the essence of Singer. Titania and Bottom this isnít, and although there is something of the panto beast in this demon for whom Sarah yearns, it only heightens the sense of pity for her, and relief that one is not oneself so in thrall to the grotesque. Maybe.
The production knocks on the door of powerful tragi-comedy, and it is to be hoped that this dedicated company will achieve the support it deserves.

        Saul Reichlin