Screwtape takes us on a journey to Hell, all from the comforts of the pulpits of the Church. Should you see it?
Screwtape is an important demon. He makes sure the audience knows that right off the top from his dress, to his demeanour, to the way he orates. While he prepares to deliver the graduation speech to a new round of tempters about to head to Earth to torment the souls of humans he also finds himself conflicted as his own nephew, Wormwood, reaches out for help as he struggles to secure the soul of the human he’s been assigned, and if Wormwood fails to secure the soul the consequences are dire.
I cannot be 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure that this is not what C.S. Lewis expected to become of his critically acclaimed Screwtape Letters, alas, the show doesn’t disappoint. Screwtape is a one man show that is equal parts captivating, engaging and sophisticated. John D. Huston speaks with authority and holds great control over every carefully crafted word of his unyielding and biting monologues.
Screwtape is truly a piece of poetry. It’s a commentary that’s about religion and the existence of God and the Devil on a surface level, yet on the deeper level about the wanton acts of the human animal and how we justify our actions on a day to day plain of existence with an obvious end in sight that most of us choose to remain oblivious to.
Huston is unstoppable on his 80 minute diatribe that’s full of clever wit and the well placed laughs to break up the heaviness of the content. My only complaint, a mild one at that, is that one can truly feel the 80 minute clock on this show. It is a heavy piece of theatre, and one that can, at times, sound preachy, there’s no real need for it to be longer than 60 minutes. Yet there’s still a delicious irony to hear from a well-versed Demon, whom we unwittingly root for, as he preaches to us from the pulpit of a church.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. What did you think of the venue for Screwtape? What did you think about its length? Too long? Too short? Just about right? Join the discussion and tell me what you think in the comments below!