One man shines on stage in Paradise Lost at Weston-super-Mare's Theatre Tropicana
PUBLISHED: 12:52 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52 31 May 2017
An epic poem which is known by many was re-imagined in contemporary dance and performance at the Tropicana last night (Tuesday) and certainly left its mark.
Reporter Sheridan Robins went along to take in the unique show and was left bemused but moved by the production.
I will admit, my poetry knowledge leaves a lot to be desired but my love for any original theatre meant I was intrigued by this show and having thoroughly enjoyed my evening I was right to be so.
Paradise Lost, written by John Milton, explores the idea that God created everything because he was terrified of doing nothing. While this notion is explored, Ben Duke triumphantly plays a multitude of roles, while also consistently breaking the fourth wall with the audience.
His opening line was: “Thank you for giving up your evening to watch a contemporary dance version of Paradise Lost – it is a brave choice.”
He immediately got the audience on his side and made everyone in the auditorium laugh at his slight awkwardness and stumbling through the play.
But while there were moments of light relief, there were also some intense scenes which showed off Duke’s clear acting talent.
His realisation that he could not protect his children (which was represented by God not being able to protect Jesus) was heart-warming and on a small stage was performed in a way which silenced the audience – not an easy thing to do in a venue like The Tropicana.
I was blown away by Duke’s energy and ability to tell such a complex story. He incorporated what seemed like anecdotes from his real life and this immediately made me think about the similar things in my life, and how sometimes we can all lose control.
While this production is certainly not your average mainstream theatre, it is one which I am really glad I made the effort to see.
In particular, the crescendo of an ending was something spectacular and without giving too much away, the use of water is something no-one expected.
To have such a stage presence as Duke is something which cannot be taught and I was mesmerised by his dance and dialogue throughout.
You do not need to be familiar with the poem to enjoy this production, perhaps just a tad open-minded and willing to suspend your disbelief.
The production company Lost Dog is set to continue touring with Paradise Lost and a full list of performances can be found here.
What have you got to lose? It might just make you think…