The Devil pact may be a story that precedes our knowledge but, given increasing global tensions, Bosley’s production of Peter Schlemiel is capable of being resonant with each of us.

Peter SchlemielPeter Schlemiel is an 1814 novella by Adelbert von Chamisso about the title character selling his shadow to the Devil in exchange for a bottomless wallet. Whether it’s an American blockbuster, a famous English stage play or an unknown foreign song, the story of a pact famously made with the Devil dominates to this day.

Put it into the context of 2016 reality, and with the likes of Farage and Johnson in mind, one is left to question at what cost are dreams to be achieved?

We live in society that responds to religion with distrust – yet place the Devil in the picture and we are eager to see a story unfold. What is the reason and fascination behind this fascination with Satan?

The association with any form of satanic thinking instantly makes us lean towards the forbidden. Whether it’s a stranger down the street, or someone on foreign land, we recoil -yet watch horrific crimes play out before our eyes. What is out allure towards evil?

Matthew Bosley from Mountview Academy concentrates on this idea and his Peter Schlemiel (Alex Marlow) is an outsider in this city of glamour. An ill-fated man with a northern accent amongst the upper classes of a place which could be anywhere from London to Oxford.

Peter SchlemielEither in awe or fear, he walks away when approached by the devil, who offers gold in exchange for something that we all cannot be without. Or can we? How will his shadow-less body survive in this world concerned with social standing? Will his love fight by his side or easily move onto someone new? And how far will Peter go to secure his happiness?

Bosley leads workshops which explore physical expression for actors and this is evident in the talent of both Marlow and Billy Irving. Both demonstrate exceptional ability; disappointingly they overshadow the women.

Desperation and torture is visible not only through Marlow’s expressions but the movement through which he depicts his anguish. Irving on the other hand, emulating actors on larger stages, jumps from one character to another with ease.

Using speakers to project internal thoughts distracts from the movement on stage and the music on occasion disrupts the words spoken. Repetition at times sways the attention but the fast pace keeps up the momentum.

The way in which each scene moves from one to the other stirs that fickleness in us which permits that we swiftly divert our attention: one news story to the other, passion leading to infatuations, infatuation to…whatever’s next.

Peter SchlemielOverall, Peter Schlemiel is a very well put together production that, with further script development, is ideal for chamber production. Compliments to Theatre N16 for their encouragement and help for emerging artists.

The Devil pact may be a story that precedes our knowledge but, given increasing global tensions, Bosley’s production of Peter Schlemiel is capable of being resonant with each of us.

Peter Schlemiel deserves good wishes for the future of all involved.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Peter Schlemiel
Previous articleReview – Savage
Next articleReview – Cut
Madhia Hussain
Madhia is British-Pakistani and lives and breathes the air of the theatrical world. Her main area of expertise is playwriting, with occasional producing roles. In her free time, other than venue hopping, she enjoys travelling through different cities and occasional trips back to her hometown, Middlesbrough, in the northeast. She champions the need for more underrepresented people to be featured onstage around the United Kingdom.