Tens of characters and tens of thousands of lines of poetry relayed in one hour by one man who promises to dance the complicated bits
Created, devised and performed by Ben Duke |
Based on the book by John Milton
Light and set design by Jackie Shemesh
Artistic Collaborator Raquel Meseguer
I am not going to lie. The prospect of an 80 minute dance solo based on the epic John Milton poem did not have my heart pounding in anticipation. Dance solos are hard for me to adore at the best of times, and the idea of one depicting the huge themes and grand ideas that Milton discusses throughout Paradise Lost was not a promising one. How does one even start to imagine it?
I can however, categorically state, that I was wrong to judge!
I was thoroughly impressed, entertained and engaged from beginning to end. I am not entirely convinced how Ben Duke managed to do it. The moment he entered the stage I was engaged, his casual sense of performance was intoxicating. You did not quite know whether he had started the piece or was just having a chat with the audience, but you felt safe and secure in his company. He had the audience in the palm of his hand and within 5 minutes laughter had erupted around the performance space.
Duke managed to skillfully portray the bold and significant characters of God, Lucifer, and Adam, but the most endearing and enchanting character was of Ben himself. He allowed small personal moments enter into the narrative; his vulnerability was touching and intimate.
This piece was inventive, creative and thoroughly entertaining. There were unfortunately only two nights of performance (rumor has it that this will be showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer) but I will be on the look out for Ben Duke and Lost Dog in the future. If Duke can make an inspiring solo from Paradise Lost then there is surely no end to his talent! One to watch!
Reviewd by Sara Daniels
(Sara is a freelance dance teacher and lecturer in dance education)