The Curse of the Devil’s Verse

THEATRE
***
The Curse of the Devil’s Verse 
C Soco

Rob and Lucy are not seeing  eye to eye. Lucy has given up her job to write. Rob has been sneaking  a look at her writing, and is feeling less than pleased and hard done by. Lucy feels unappreciated and that Rob is failing to communicate and keeping himself locked in. Cue Rob storms off to the pub, where he stumbles unawares into Poetry Night. A mysterious figure engages him in conversation and gives him a special drink. And…he is cursed…he speaks entirely in rhyming couplets. Not a happy fate…he gets beaten up and loses his job…but he learns a good deal, and a young guy I spoke to about the show after said he thought he had picked up some valuable points.

This is a very entertaining and quick-witted show indeed, less heavy than my words above may make it seem. There is very good comic business, and the pub scenes and a group scene with drink are very skilfully done. Joseph Sentance as Rob is very dynamic and engaging; Anjli Mohindra as Lucy is firm and very strongly in character. Nic Harvey (writer and director) can be proud of this very fast-moving and involving drama.

The central relationship is lively but could be individualised more. Also the fantasy element could be taken further, become more Faustian and still very funny. Maybe Lucy could be brought into the fantasy – she is the creative one to begin with, but she seems very solid and always has her feet firmly on the ground.

That said, this remains a highly entertaining and memorable hour, the kind of show that with a large and responsive audience will have you laughing out loud. Strongly recommended.