The Shadow of Heaven is like Hieronymous Bosch painting made flesh (4 stars)

The Shadow of Heaven is like a Hieronymous Bosch painting made flesh

Alberto Santos Bellido

This complex and beautiful adaptation of Milton's Paradise Lost is disturbing and gorgeous

Conceived and directed by Al Seed and Judith Milligan, this staging of Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost is a multi-layered piece which is as complex as it is beautiful, following Satan's trajectory to the Garden of Eden .

It's like a Hieronymous Bosch painting made flesh, and a carnivalesque fever dream. It exists,fully-formed, seemingly of its own time and space.

Seed is a castigated figure, neither angel nor demon, but a blurring of the two, a dazed lone man with enough ambiguity to shake any notions of pure morality, good deeds nor bad.

Dylan Read is the Puckish narrator, bobbing and weaving through a chorus of bouffons, whose ribald, hissing sadism has the uninhibited glee of children. Liz Strange puts an otherworldly,knowingly sensual stamp on the Eve figure, and the sweet, ethereal voices of Sita Pieraccini and Fionnuala Dorrity could summon angels to join them down, deep into the bowels of the earth.

Such tableaux of ecstasy and horror play out in Kai Fischer's innovative set, lit with jewel shades of ruby and emerald by Alberto Santos Bellido. His hanging gauzy partitions of soft white silks both reveal and conceal fleshy temptations: bodies judder, undulate and writhe in the shadows.

It's all punctuated by Guy Veale's musical soundscapes, rumbling ominously, before mutating into a post-apocalyptic rave. Disturbing, gorgeous and grotesque visions for uncertain times.

Reviewed at Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

The Shadow of Heaven

An explosive, hour-long journey through Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, emphasising the work's visceral, physical and musical qualities.

Post a comment