tutti frutti, temptation and the Fall

17Jun10

The Red Shift team reprise our production of The Fall of Man this coming week at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol (22-27th June), followed by dates at Taunton Brewhouse (29th) and Lincoln Drill Hall (1st July).  It is almost a year since the show premiered at Pleasance, Edinburgh and now we find ourselves back in the sister venue in north London, rehearsing with a new Veronica. Natalie Jones is doing an amazing job of learning/inhabiting the role in the space of just a week and the show feels like it has a different texture this time around. More tender, perhaps … and delicate. The passages from Milton’s Paradise Lost have been re-positioned within the narrative and now feel like they have a much stronger function as commentary to the story of temptation, love, loss and shame.

The show presents an intense 40-minute barrage of emotion, covering the arc of an illicit affair – from first flirtatious glimpse to bruising conclusion. Via the parabolic lens of Milton, we read their experience as Adam & Eve, with damaging interventions from the Fiend himself, Satan – whose arguments (crafted in the 1640’s) sound wholly convincing to contemporary ears….

Knowledge forbidden … suspicious, reasonless. Can it be Sin to know? Can it be death? And do they only stand by ignorance? Is this their happy state? The proof of their obedience and their faith? Oh, fair foundation laid whereon to build their ruin!

Jonathan and I are prone to indulge each others’ extrapolations, rambling away about the metaphysical readings of the script – but his delight in seeing a complete run-through today prompted a description of the show as comparable to Tutti Frutti Ice Cream, chockful of various sweet and bitter flavours. Edmond and Natalie looked on vacantly and I realised that the last time I’d eaten that stuff was 1978, long before either of them had been transplanted into this demi-Eden. One wonders what the blind Milton would’ve made of the lascivious taste sensation of a Tutti Frutti, served in its cardboard wrapper?

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