Thursday, September 28

Lucifer Speaks -The Fitzgerald

In the 1920s speakeasy-style Fitzgerald bar, Lucifer gives his own side of the story. This short play explores Lucifer as a witty, cynical jilted lover, unfairly victimised at the hand of God, a former lover. It has a distinctly northern rhythm and flair in the back-and-forth banter between Pegeen Murphy and Mike Cunningham who deliver their lines with conviction and total commitment to the bit.

Lucifer Speaks describes itself as a ‘comedic take on an emotional […] story’, touching on ‘sexuality, gender and love’. However, the writing falls short of hitting the emotional and comedic beats needed to make this concept fly. The jokes are not brought to a satisfying punchline and therefore fall flat, or never materialise, and chances to fully explore audience participation are lost.

While the script is clearly attempting to poke fun at conservatism in religion, not enough specifics are employed to sell the concept. Lucifer at one point says that human beings made up sexuality and gender, and yet God appears as a ‘nagging shrew’, a woman who ruins Satan’s reputation based on a petty grievance. Characters that describe themselves as queer do not appear to us this way, and it is an uncomfortable watch for women in the audience.

The choice of God and Satan as lovers is an odd one; one with no basis in the mythology it draws from. Any well-timed jokes about the incestuous implications were missing, and the choice goes unexplained. There are also moments of discomfort in the use of homosexuality and campness as a punchline at certain points.

 Overall, this is a set that needs to be reworked as a concept, and the comedy sharpened up – but as always, I would like to end by thanking the writer for his vulnerability in sharing his work, and adding to the theatre scene in Manchester, wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

Reviewer: Bo Warner

Reviewed: 24th July 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.