The Fall of Man Review
Founded in 1982, and appearing at the Fringe from as early as 1983, Red Shift has been raising and challenging the tone and summit of theatre throughout.
Last at the Fringe in 2006 with their highly acclaimed stage version of Get Carter, they return with The Fall of Man, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost.
Jonathan Holloway and Graeme Rose's production investigates the conflict between God's eternal prudence and free will, elucidated in Milton's epic poem, using a modern setting of sin, where Peter Hope (Graeme Rose) begins an illicit affair with his family's young, Slovenian nanny Veronica (Stephanie Day), visiting her under the cover of night.
The piercing, plinky-plonky music (Sarah Llewellyn) ushers the audience into an intense atmosphere that is deliberately evocative; huddled around a single bed held up by a metal backdrop that reflects humanity's entrapment in their own antics, it is fitted with spotlights; cleverly used on-stage in various degrees of brightness and pointed into the spectators to highlight Holloway's desire to reflect the subject matter of guilt-ridden lust onto the watching audience.
Progressing through cut-together moments between Veronica and Peter as they delve deeper into their affair, the action alternates between dialogue and monologue excerpts from Milton's original to great affect, using the language to reflect the scene that's passed and evoke reaction for the next.
This is a superbly inventive and beautifully adapted piece that grips the audience in a vice and refuses to let them escape. It brilliantly highlights the temptation of Milton's piece, with the flesh of the fatal apple in the Garden of Eden compared to the flesh of the actors on display in coarse, guttural theatre not for the faint-hearted.
Effectively delivered by Rose and Day, they play out their characters with outstanding conviction, starting with uncontrollable lust but developing into violent assassins for each others hearts as jealousy and selfishness begin to become unbearable; scenes flickering between humorous conversations, poetic reflection and raging, invidious outbursts.
Summed up best in Veronica's line to Peter, ‘Everything is a deal', Holloway keeps it moving at such a beat that emotional outlines are starkly surfaced; highlighting that humanity is inherently selfish in this skillfully reflective, dark and brooding piece.
Times: 7-30 August, 2.45pm
© Lindsay Corr, August 2009