Paul Van Dyck captures the sexiness of a rock star, the radiance of an angel and the bad-assery of a demon.
He introduces genesis through skillful manipulation of puppets while igniting the audiences’ imagination of a lost paradise fraught with original sin.
Van Dyck’s adaptation and performance of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, is a highly creative and immensely seductive condensed version of a complex classic.
In just under an hour, this solo production will awaken sight and sound with its polished ease and perfectly executed design.
While the production can be a little difficult to follow, as it uses the same convoluted language as the epic, it is a visually satisfying spectacle.
The 17th century dialogue floats off of Van Dyck’s tongue as he grips his audience with his demanding stage presence. Van Dyck also has some amazing character voice transitions.
Gender roles cannot be overlooked in a few scenes. As Adam strikes Eve for succumbing to temptation, the audience is painfully reminded of the crude sexism of the Old Testament.
Van Dyck is able to portray this scene as a means for the audience to reflect on that aspect.
One of the greatest parts of the performance is the intricate puppets created by Lyne Paquette. Van Dyck masters stage movement with these puppets and skillfully infuses human emotion and fluidity to their actions.
The idea of all-encompassing obedience to God works well with Van Dyck’s command over the puppets. The engineering and design is very lifelike and the puppets are also anatomically amazing. Spoiler: you will get to see an Adam and Eve sex scene.
The set design by Jody Burkholder is simple yet highly effective. The production uses amazing computer-generated imagery (CGI), by Jeremy Eliosoff, which allows Van Dyck to tell the story more effectively to those who may not be familiar with Milton.
The transitions and execution of the demon, angel, and fire graphics are definitely elements that elevate the show.
An honourable mention goes to the music selection. The arrangement of Rolling Stones songs accentuates the energy and tone of the play at various scenes.
From barefoot and wrapped in ribbon, to shirtless with tight jeans and gripping the mic, Van Dyck embodies sexiness in a ways that most interpretations of Paradise Lost would lack.
Adapting classics like Paradise Lost is not always the easiest task, but this performance is an easy sell.
Presented by Beyond the Mountain and Rabbit in a Hat, Paradise Lost continues until Dec. 6 at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave. For more information vist passemuraille.ca