The tale of Lucifer’s fall has had a long history of retelling. The most recent reiteration of this archetypal story, Down Down Lucifer, is a tour de force, which is all the more impressive considering this play is the break-out show for Gender Traffic Productions. If you like intelligent, no-holds-barred humour, and thoroughly engaging entertainment, I would highly recommend you check out Down Down Lucifer. Fair warning though, if you cannot sit comfortably through a performance by Tim Minchin or listen to a Christopher Hitchens talk without bubbling over with rage – I would avoid this play.
Philippe Klaus, both the writer and the sole actor for this minimalist play, dominates the Bakehouse Theatre’s main stage with a gritty and witty Lucifer — who insists he is misunderstood, misrepresented and that “people deserve a better class of god” than the irrational and power-crazed deity portrayed in the Bible.
From the get go, the fourth wall is completely obliterated as Klaus launches into a seamless stream of hilarious and irreverent anecdotes. Nothing is sacred as he (logically and rationally, but also very amusingly) critiques biblical passages, religious figures and blind faith. With amazing attention to detail, Klaus is able to slip between different individuals in a single conversation, whether he is trying to reason with Jesus in the desert or seduce a priest to steal his semen to further his plan of world domination.
Irreverent humour aside, Down Down Lucifer is a highly intellectual play. The majority of the common ‘cheap shots’ slung back and forth during retellings of the fall have been avoided or co-opted into much more elaborate debates held between Lucifer and a selection of cameo characters. The Lucifer portrayed is more than human but less than perfect; less than perfectly evil, for that matter. He is an amalgam of stories, archetypes and motives – all of which appear to sit happily within popular culture’s concept of the Devil, but also creates the impression of breaking away from it. When the show abruptly ends you are left neither loving nor hating Klaus’ Lucifer. You will, however, be inspired to debate and discuss or to simply try and recall of the ridiculously brilliant punchlines!
Philippe Klaus and his cohorts, Josh Brennan (director) and Kathy Luu (art and design), have recycled and reinvigorated an old tale with raw energy and unhindered wit. They will make you laugh and they will definitely make you think.
For show times and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.