Theater Review: A Devil InsideFiled Under:
The L's theater reviewer Mary Block went to A Devil Inside. Should you? Possibly.
Will you? Read on.
It takes a talented playwright to make axe murderers, demonic possession and Russian Lit lectures laugh-out-loud funny. Pulitzer-winner David Lindsay-Abaire accomplishes that feat in his new play A Devil Inside, aided by some very committed physical comedians willing to stab themselves in the legs, put themselves through the spin cycle, and get beaten to a bruised and simpering pulp by an invisible Satan. On his 21st birthday, Gene Slater (Sage Seals) is charged with avenging his footless, 400-pound father's death by his laundry-lady mother (Kristin Skye Hoffman), who keeps the disembodied feet preserved in formaldehyde under the stairs. The revenge plot soon entangles Russian Lit prof/modern-day Raskolnikov Carl (an impressive Andrew Harriss), dopey but lovable mechanic Brad (Jake Paque, who is exceptionally funny), cursed and mysterious Lily (Lauren Bahlman), and flighty, romantic Caitlin (Liz White). Be prepared to suspend your disbelief--the dialogue is surreal and metaphysical, and the drama is set in a Lower East Side on the verge of the apocalypse, a sinking Manhattan overrun by garbage and feral dogs. Be prepared for an intimate performance, too--sitting in the front row of the Richmond Shepard means being able to tell what kind of detergent the actors use. (My friend spilled a soda on the floor and we seriously thought one of the actors was going to slip and break a leg.) Huge amounts of spurting blood, a theramin-inflected soundtrack, and actors trading some very bizarre but funny lines ("What's with your eye?" "The devil chewed his way through the back of it") keeps A Devil Inside's audience immersed in its strange, rapturous odyssey 'til the terrible end.