It's time for my review of The Screwtape Letters.
Originally, I wasn't too sure whether to go and see The Screwtape Letters. On the one hand, I was fascinated with the concept of the play after reading the synopsis. On the other hand, I wasn't too keen on the idea of travelling all the way to North London. I decided to keep it off my schedule and just keep it as a back-up. When booking for shows, one of them (Rent) was completely sold out. I decided to bite the bullet with the journey and went to see this production. I had very mixed thoughts about the play. The acting and creative aspects were wonderful, but there really isn't much to the play. I'll start with my negative thoughts and then finish with my positive thoughts, so that we can end the review on a high note! I am not convinced that this piece works as a stage adaption. I have not read the book by C.S. Lewis, but it is very apparent to me that there is little to make a whole stage play of. The show consists of the character Screwtape, one of the Devil's agents, writing letters to his nephew, whilst his assistant (who doesn't speak) writes it all down. The play does not tell us the nephew's response, which I think would have worked much better in this instance. Perhaps if the show had been only an hour this would've worked better, but and hour and a half of just letters grew a little tiresome. The play does very well on creative aspects, but it is let down structure wise. My only other critique is that I found certain parts difficult to follow, specifically the ending. Those who I'd recommend The Screwtape Letters for, are for those that are fans of the book, as for these people they would be able to understand everything and wouldn't worry about structure flaws. If you have plans to see it, I would advise reading the book first. Now onto the positives! I thought that Max McLean's portrayal of Screwtape was exceptional! He has an extremely hard task of keeping the audience engaged for such a long time, but he does a wonderful job. The play is an hour and a half, but thanks to his portrayal it didn't feel quite as long as it was. He truly embodies Screwtape from beginning to end, it's amazing that he had that much energy! His performance is the sole reason why the show wasn't too bad and I would even go as far to say that a performance like that is worth the ticket price alone. Karen Eleanor Wight doesn't speak as Toadpipe, but manages to convey a character through physicality and noise. The fact she was able to convey a character without words shows me that Karen is a wonderful performer. I cannot say a bad word about these two actors. The set was simple, and yet extremely effective, with skulls on the back wall. The lighting and costume design are also perfect, in specifics, Toadpipe's costume was fantastic. With the set, lighting and costumes combined, it was able to perfectly display Hell.
The featured star of The Screwtape Letters is, drum roll please... MAX MCLEAN!
Max's performance was profoundly extraordinary. With his acting, he is even able to make the boring parts of the show interesting. I have read that Max has been doing the role since 2006 and this definitely comes across.
Now for my final verdict on The Screwtape Letters. I give The Screwtape Letters...
Think it should gave got a higher rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Join me next time when I will be reviewing Dirty Dancing.
Thanks for reading!