Paradise Lost, a CurtainUp London review CurtainUp

The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings






Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants









Free Updates
Writing for Us

Globe Valves,China valve, valve Manufacturer, valve supplier, link check valves, ball valves, Butterfly Valves,valves Butterfly valves 2011.06.05, Gate valves, Ball Valves,Gate Valves,Check Valves Plug Valvesglobe valves, butterfly valves, Zhejiang sedelon valve co.,ltd.
valve factory,valve corporation,valve company China Valve manufacturer and Supplier
A CurtainUp London London Review
Paradise Lost

Which way shall I fly? Infinite wrath or infinite despair?
---- Satan
Paradise Lost
Jasper Britton as Satan as the Snake
(Photo: Robert Day)
In his first season as Artistic Director of the Oxford Stage Company where he has taken over from Dominic Dromgoole, now at Shakespeare's Globe, Rupert Goold presents this absorbing and compelling touring production of Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. Despite the original being ten books long, there are regular attempts in the UK to stage Milton's major blank verse work.

Ben Power has adapted the poetry for theatre leaving in as much of the original verse as practical in a production lasting three hours. A very physical interpretation and startling lighting, costume and makeup contribute to an outstandingly dramatic theatrical event following Satan who famously would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

The play depicts Satan (Jasper Britton) after his fall to the eternal punishment of Hell. Pandemonium, a word coined by Milton to describe the chaos, in consultation with the other demons Beelzebub (Stephen Fewell), Beliol (Vinette Robinson) and Moloch (Christian Bradley), planning his revenge by spoiling God's creation of Adam (Christian Bradley) and Eve (Vinette Robinson) in the Garden of Eden. These tortured souls have faces permanently tear stained, their clothes are bloodstained and tattered and torn, but even in Hell they retain some of the charisma they had as angels.

The first act is a whirlwind tour through Hell and shows Satan's journey to Earth which takes nine days. The second act sees Adam and Eve and the seduction that Satan has planned to prompt Man's first disobedience after he has penetrated the angelic guard. The figure of God's son (Charles Aitken), who represents redemption " on me let Thy anger fall", is present from the beginning of the play, a shadowy figure in a modern hooded jacket who shows his crucifixion wounds in the final scene.

There are shocking moments as when Sin (Caroline Faber) gives birth to Death (Stephen Fewell) from under her tattered crinoline and then is raped from behind by the monster she has given birth to. Sin and Death are the two monsters Satan lets loose on Earth. There are startling scenes like one in which Satan is flung into the ocean and they appear to swim suspended on ropes.

In the Garden there are no plants or trees just bright green lighting, Paradise is all in the mind. It is the choreography in this production which grabs our attention, acrobatic and arrestingly brilliant.

I found Jasper Britton's Satan glittery and hypnotic. Milton describes the serpent as the subtlest beast of all the field. He is at once depraved and magnetic. As the snake he plays with his snakeskin jacket and eventually casts it off, leaving it hanging over a chair like a sloughed skin. The Adam and Eve scenes in Eden leave less room for physical expression than those in Hell. In a distinctly modern take, Adam and Eve dress in modern clothes from suitcases, rather than donning fig leaves but still this creates a powerful image to express their loss of innocence.

This is an exciting and physically innovative production. It augurs very well for Rupert Goold's tenure at Oxford Stage.

Written by John Milton
Adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Rupert Goold

Starring: Jasper Britton
With: Chasrles Aitken, Christian Bradley, Jasper Britton, Caroline Faber, Stephen Fewell, Vinette Robinson
Design: Ben Stones
Lighting: Mark Jonathan
Music and Sound Design: Adam Cork
Choreography: Liam Steel and Georgina Lamb
Running time: Three hours with one interval
30th May to 3rd June, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Box Office: 01483 440 000
6th to 10th June, Dundee Rep 01382 223 530
13th to 17th June, Bath Theatre Royal 01225 448 ,844
20th to 24th June, Oxford Playhouse 01865 305 305
26th June to 1st July Hackney Empire 020 8985 2424
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge on 16th May 2006 performance at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, Surrey.
London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2006, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from