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DEVIL IN DISGUISE (article first published : 2007-11-16)

Veteran actor, writer and director Vivian Moodley has long been a part of the multi-cultural tapestry that represents the Durban theatre and entertainment scene. With his Enact Theatre Company, he is presenting Devil in Disguise” for a very short season at the Supernova Theatre at Suncoast.

The show stands up to its promise of ”a musical romp through the underworld”. You will have guessed by the title that Elvis Presley has something to do with it all, this being one of his most popular songs. But let’s start at the beginning. We discover we are at the entrance to Hell. There is a sign indicating that new arrivals should take a number and wait in line. The dude in charge is a giggling camp Demon played by Pranesh Maharaj who garners most of the laughs throughout the show and particularly in the beginning, as he spots well-known personalities standing in the various lines allocated to politicians, criminals, etc.

Into the scenario glides the sepulchral Grim (as in the Grim Reaper) who doesn’t say a lot but his deep tones offer much humour to his scant dialogue. Selvan “Tin Tin” Pillay gets to duck out of his disguise so we can enjoy his facial expressions later in the production.

Grim has brought the latest entrant to Hell. Vivian Moodley brings the right level of fun to the character of the hapless Deepnarain who can’t understand what he’s doing in Hell but vaguely remembers it might have had something to do with the fact that he was visiting a girlfriend at the time and her husband came home unexpectedly … armed with a gun!

We discover that Deep’s appearance in Hell has been manipulated by The Lahnee, as the glamorous boss is known. In a very undevil-like move, The Lahnee announces that she’s always wanted to be a singer and instructs her Demon, Grim and Deep to accompany her to earth so that she can indulge her fantasies. Shika Budhoo brings her considerable talents to this role both as an actress and a singer.

On earth, Elvis Presley is represented by a vocalist who sings his songs but is a bit short of band support so the foursome pulls in to make some good music. Patrick Carl Moodley impresses vocally and his white outfit is suitably Elvis! The sixth member of the cast is the show’s choreographer Kubeshnie Narainsami who appears as a flirtatious waitress.

While there are some rough corners to be polished, Devil in Disguise makes for a highly amusing evening out. As the production has to be slotted in between movie shows, the set is basic and easily movable. Smoke and flame machines add to the atmosphere and, appropriately, blood red is the major costume colour!

Devil in Disguise runs at the Supernova Theatre at Avalon Cine Centre at Suncoast Entertainment World from November 15 to 17 with performances on November 16 at 20h15 and on November 17 at 17h00 and 20h15. The production is a good choice for corporate production or fundraisers but is rated PG13 because of explicit language. Tickets are available from Avalon Cine Centre and Computicket. Further information from Vivian Moodley on 084 760 1096 or email: enact@renweb.co.za – Caroline Smart




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