Better the devil you don’t

Better the devil you don’t

Robert Tanitch reviews Satan Sings Mostly Sondheim at Jermyn Street Theatre, London SW1

Adam Long is the author and director of Shakespeare Abridged and Dickens Abridged. So expectations are raised that there will be plenty to laugh at. His latest conceit is that Satan is a 50-year-old who just loves musicals and desperately wants to star in a one-man show at the London Palladium in which he will sing songs by Stephen Sondheim.

The chances of seeing the Devil you know on stage are quite high. There are the York Mystery Plays, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, Giocomo Meyerbeer’s opera, Robert Le Diable, and Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell.

The Devil has also had leading roles in two musicals: Jerry Lewis and David Bedella had a big success in Damn Yankees and Jerry Springer – The Opera respectively. Rowan Atkinson had a Satan sketch which lasted three-minutes.

The Devil, as everybody knows, has the best tunes and Stephen Sondheim certainly has the best lyrics. It could be a marriage made in either hell or heaven. It is neither. Adam Long’s Satan is a camp Woody Allen-like character who, unfortunately, can’t sing

Satan Sings Mostly Sondheim is the sort of revue sketch you might expect to see undergraduates perform late at night at college for fellow undergraduates. It’s not the sort of thing you would expect to see in a commercial theatre, embarrassingly stretched to an hour

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