A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE DEVIL AND BILLY MARKHAM (article first published : 2006-09-18)

In a blue spotlight, Graham Clarke plays his harmonica, launching into a raunchy blues number that perfects sets the tone for The Devil and Billy Markham which I have just seen at the Witness Hilton Art Festival.

“Guitarist, rambler and travelling man”, Billy Markham is also an inveterate gambler so when the Devil throws him a challenge to gamble on an all-or-nothing spin of the dice, he jumps at it. The prize is riches beyond his wildest dreams, but if he loses he sells his soul to the Devil. Thanks to a passing fly, for one nano-second he’s a winner but his luck fails and he suddenly finds himself turning on a spit in hell.

The Devil recognises in Billy a strong source of entertainment so lets him out to have sex with as many women as he wishes while the Devil and his cohorts watch his antics on the big screen. The denouement for this comes as a highly amusing surprise.

Graham works without a set and only uses two props – a mop and a bucket, the former put to extremely effective use. His well-designed lighting states create various moods and his numerous characters are cleanly drawn - from the suave Devil to the burly straight-talking God. I particularly enjoyed the camp agent, Scuzzy Sleazo.

Written by the late cartoonist and writer Shel Silverstein – himself a composer, lyricist and songwriter, The Devil and Billy Markham is told in rhyming couplets. It’s a perfect vehicle for Graham Clarke’s strong stage presence, faultless diction and projection, musical ability and movement skills. The scene of the Devil’s marriage party is a brilliant satire on history’s evil-doers.

Graham’s performance is compelling and riveting, drawing on the raunchy humour of the piece, to present a highly entertaining 70 minute programme. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart