Review: All Hell Lay Beneath

Cassidy’s Bar

This production is built around the Steppenwolf story: a loner, Harry Haller, despairs at the modern world, and at bourgeois society in particular. But at the behest of a woman he meets in a dance hall, Haller plunges himself into gratification. It is this hall of mirrors, and Haller’s struggle with the dualities of his personality, that this ambitious, short-run production attempts to recreate, and if you want this production’s surprises to remain unimpaired, then read no further.

The audience begins the evening in a speakeasy-type basement before making its way through several storeys of dance, music, minor interactions, imaginative ideas, unsettling altercations, tiny rooms and cold balconies, all to be explored as each audience member prefers. It’s ambitious and grand on the scale that a no-doubt punishing budget allows – and oh so very Fringe. As theatre, there is no staggeringly original development of the Steppenwolf myth; but as a diverting night’s entertainment, it’s a blast.

For those willing to abandon themselves to the piece, this will be a four-star delight, but for those who cannot check their self-consciousness at the door, it could well prove a two-star test of endurance. But when giving a choice, who won’t go down the rabbit hole?

Runs tonight and tomorrow only

Laurence Mackin

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