The Devil’s Brew.
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In The Fellowship For Performing Arts, Max McLean brings forth another body of work that is loyal to the Theater Companies mission… Christian works worldwide, that have a message, as well as inspirational embodiment within its work. In “Paradise Lost” Lucifer has been banished from heaven. Being beaten, he is vindictive and wants revenge. He turns his eye to the Creator’s new world, a Paradise inhabited by creatures- male and female – made in his image. Adam and Eve have dominion over this garden of delight where they live in joy and happiness. God gives one stipulation to this place of bliss, they must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Lucifer uses his followers like chess pieces; Beelzebub (Lou Liberatore) and Sin, (Alison Fraser) to launch his plot. Targeting Eve, Lucifer charms her into believing that disobeying God is the way to even greater Paradise with even more power, joy, and happiness. Even in our secular times, “Paradise Lost” remains the archetypical exploration of freedom, desire, grace and rebellion.
Under Harry feiner’s set design we find a deft look at two plays under the same set, Hell and The Garden of Eden. The two are intertwined to give us a flush plot line into the lives of two innocent people vs the wickedness of evil. Phil Monat is able to bring forth his lighting, coupled with John Gromada’s sound design to make this play a force in the way of reality for this formidable story.
In the forces of evil, Beelzebub, and Sin carry this show with fluid comedy throughout the evening. Not since “Burn This” has Liberatore been this good, his comedic timing and fluid acting makes this show a success. Alison Fraser, the two time Tony Nominee, (full disclosure that she was in my show Swingtime Canteen), always gives a solid performance no matter what show she is in. As Sin she is a standout in her role. Between Lucifer (David Andrew MacDonald) and his minions, this “Paradise Lost” is a modern, silly and at times, a hilarious version of Milton’s classic work. Writer Tom Dulack incorporates a lite side to a very meaningful and unique subject. Like his “Breaking Legs”, Dulack brings ironic comedy to the forefront with the help of Director Michael Parva. Under tight direction, Adam (Robbie Simpson) and Eve (Marina Shay) has the audience rooting for them in their quest for eternal bliss. The two banter about in nieviety as the wicked triangle plan the next move to take away what should be eternal happiness.
The Fellowship over the last two years has produced some excellent plays; “Shadowlands”; “The Screwtape Letters”; “The Most Reluctant Convert” and many others that were all well staged. With great stories and resonant meaning, The “Fellowship” is a performing arts company that has gotten a lot of recognition over the last few years. Artistic Director Max McLean has created and developed a first rate company. Always fun to watch the play’s that they put out, “Paradise Lost” was another very well done, poignant and insightful show.
“Paradise Lost” runs till February 23erd at the Acorn Theater on Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street.