Presented by Mermaids, ‘The Day the Devil Came to Tea’ (written by Charles Vivian) is a clever play with just enough darkness to be chilling but well balanced with an occasional light touch of humour.
Three flatmates are in the aftermath of bereavement as the fourth flatmate, Phil, died two months ago. His death has triggered changes in each person’s life.
One day, the Devil arrives, ingratiates himself into their flat and demands an Earl Grey with five sugars. He announces that by the time he has finished his drink, one of the three will be coming with him….and if they can’t decide which one, he will make the decision. (Rather an extreme version of the parachute debate!)
Sarah (Molly Luckhurst), Tanya (Isabella Zeff) and Caroline (Catriona Ferguson) are initially adamant that no-one is going anywhere but gradually the cracks start to appear as the Devil (played by Liam Smith) undermines their friendship, plays on their weak points and facilitates the slow disintegration of their trust and friendship. Through the well placed use of flashbacks, we learn a little more about Phil and the three girls and one person is discovered to have played quite a large part in Phil’s death.
I enjoyed Liam Smith’s portrayal of the Devil – he was arrogant and self-assured with a fine edge of camp and a very sinister persona which all fitted together well. (He also has an excellent evil laugh).
I found the girls’ interaction with each other to be authentic and their reactions and emotions very realistic and believable.
The ending had a twist, and I liked the way it was a circular storyline.
Just a few niggles for me: unfortunately, someone’s mic was too close to their nose so their breathing was audible most of the way through which was slightly distracting and also the sound levels seemed to vary widely.
This was a well written play with an original storyline. I particularly liked the Devil’s retort, when accused of being responsible for all the badness in the world: “humans are bad – it’s not all me…don’t give me all the credit”. How very true and relevant to today.
“The Day The Devil Came To Tea” is available to stream on demand: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/day-the-devil-came-for-tea
Reviewer: Nicky Lambert
Reviewed: 23rd August 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★