Review of Devilish! at the Landor Theatre

Devilish! Alex Green (Angel) Photo Scott Rylander
Devilish! Alex Green (Angel) Photo Scott Rylander

A fallen angel and a devil in disguise now both call London home. A chance encounter and a lucrative business deal, what could possible go wrong? Devilish!, is a new musical composed, directed and produced by some of the brightest talents in London Theatre including BB Cooper as Composer, Chris Burgess on Book and Lyrics, Musical Director Ian MacGregor and Choreographer Adam Scown.

The premise is simple; an angel is shot down over Clapham and lands in a young woman’s glasshouse. Angel wants only one thing in life, to become human and fall in love. His quest triggers a chain of events that include an expedition to the artic, a trip to the plastic surgeon and ends in a Cornwall donkey sanctuary.

Devilish is set up as a comedy that takes inspiration from The Wonderful Visit by H.G Wells and draws on literature and pop culture icons such as Pinocchio, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Les Miserables and Amy Winehouse. Devilish takes a satirical look at the world of reality TV and celebrity exploration. It is full of witty one-liners, including my personal favourite “I can’t be christened, I’m non-denominational,” however at times they elicited more groans than laughs from the audience.

Leading the show is Angel, played by Alex Green. In the beginning, Angel is a likeable character, but his wide-eyed innocence becomes grating towards the end. Alex Green was the perfect Angel and gave his all to the role, but with such a limited scope is unable to showcase his acting talent to its full potential.

Ruth, portrayed by Victoria Hope, is our leading lady. Her character is predictable, a woman living alone in an apartment after losing her long-term boyfriend three years ago, and has since thrown herself into her work. Victoria does a fair job, though her rendition of Don’t You Come Near was pitchy in places, but as she relaxed into her role, her singing improved showcasing her strong vocals.

Stealing the show is Katie Ann Dolling who plays Maddie, a wannabe weather girl, who will do anything for the price of fame. It is, in fact, Maddie whose characters grows the most over the course of her show, and her song The Price of Fame alongside George Longworth as Dr Michaels, was the best performance of the night. George and Katie have great chemistry, and play the part of the loving couple convincingly.

Louie Westwood showcases his versatility as playing both ‘Magic Pete’ and TV Compere who can only be compared to Alan Carr. He caught my eye at the beginning of the show, and did not fail to disappoint in any of his performances.

Gareth James gives life to our devil character of Nick, a BBC TV producer who will do anything to receive high ratings. His performance was enjoyable, with a strong performance in Welcome To Hell, however, the stereotype felt tired.

The talent of the ensemble cannot be denied. There was not a step out of place during ensemble performances, which showed the determination and dedication of the cast. Powerhouse Laura Hyde has a voice that belongs in show business, able to move swiftly from pop, jazz and hints of African American Gospel. Helen Ward-Jackson’s portrayal of the love-struck TV camera woman was enjoyable and brought a smile to my face in each scene.

Perhaps the best dancer of the group Alice Baker was a vixen on the dance floor, each move perfectly executed. Rounding out the ensemble is Benedikt de La Bedoyere who played Angel’s German stylist was on point.

Devilish is generally enjoyable, but it is the finer attention to detail that lets it down. The opening songs were pitchy, and left me cringing in places, however as they settled into the show these moments stopped, and the singing improved vastly. Costuming was interesting and well suited, but was tired and scruffy in parts.

Overall Devilish is a good, fun night out for all.

Three and a half gold stars

Review by Lisa Shaw

a new British musical comedy
Music by BB Cooper
Book and Lyrics by Chris Burgess
Director Marc Urquhart
Musical Director Ian MacGregor
Choreographer Adam Scown
Set & Costume Designer David Shields
Lighting Designer David Lambert

When Angel, a cute male angel crash-lands in metropolitan London in 2016, he is embraced by mercenary forces…. He wants to become human. Instead he becomes a novelty ‘Freak Idol’ on TV, lusted after by fans everywhere. But will Angel sell his soul to TV entrepreneur Nick Brimstone and go over to the dark side? How long will it be before he is corrupted by the devilish delights on offer…?

Devilish!, an original musical comedy with 16 songs (music by BB Cooper and book and lyrics by Chris Burgess), will get its world première at the Landor Theatre from Wednesday 4 – Sunday 29 May.

Devilish! was inspired by John Ruskin’s comment that an angel appearing on earth would be shot on sight. H.G Wells wrote a novel called The Wonderful Visit based on this observation, but now a new team of writers offer their musical take on this premise. This cartoonish comedy features an original score crammed with upbeat songs aiming to prove that the devil doesn’t have all the best tunes.

Cast: Alex Green, Victoria Hope, Katie Ann Dolling, Gareth James, Louie Westwood, George Longworth, Alice Baker, Benedikt De La Bedoyere,, Laura Hyde, Heoen Ward-Jackson

70 Landor Road,
London, SW9 9PH
Wednesday 4th – Sunday 29th May 2016.
Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Sunday matinée at 3.00pm

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