Paradise Lost, playing at The Butterfly Club in Carson Place, brings us an irreverent take on a well-traversed story: the Genesis creation narrative. With such lovable characters as Satan, Archangel Michael, Adam, Eve and John Milton, these familiar figures feature in a more unfamiliar telling. Pious theatregoers beware – this is not your Sunday service.
Milton’s purpose, in Book I of Paradise Lost, is to “justify the ways of God to men.” Indeed, what better way to justify God’s plan than with a catchy corporate pitch? In tried and true Bloomshed fashion, no character is immune to the drive of a pulsing beat, nor the rhythmic recital of ambiguously meaningful buzzwords. Long time followers of this company will recognize these devices, always lending to the piece a moment of frenetic meditation.
It is a delight to see James Jackson step out from behind the production curtain to give us his sparkling portrayal of Lucifer. He is funny, cheeky, and beautifully understated when required. He elicits riotous laughter with a mere twitch of his face. Though a Bloomshed production with Jackson at the reigns will always be a gift, he is equally gifted as a performer.
Edan Goodall and Elizabeth Brennan provide us with the saccharine chemistry of Adam and Eve. Dressed in bright yellow tracksuits, they aerobicise their way through the Garden of Eden. Both are fantastic to watch, bouncing off of each other artfully. Goodall plays the handsome dope with ease, and Brennan really brings it home with a powerful performance as the newly-enlightened Eve.
Emily O’Connor as Michael and James Malcher as John Milton round out the cast nicely, working hard to keep the sometimes dead space of the upstairs theatre alive.
The tech elements were limited by the space, used sparingly but effectively. Some supremely well-timed sound effects made clear that all involved were bringing their best.
The Bloomshed describe themselves as “making something new by cannibalizing something old”. A story told since time immemorial is given a boot up the backside with charm and gusto. This is a show for anyone – full to the brim with both humour and poignancy.
Paradise Lost runs until the 20th of July at The Butterfly Club.