Cain

Staging a long-dormant closet drama, even by such a flamboyant personality as Lord Byron, is always a challenge. Such pieces were often designed to be read aloud (or even silently), rather than staged in full: the imagination was deemed preferable to the constraints of nineteenth-century theatre practice. Yet, given the sheer variety of theatrical techniques on offer at a twenty-first century fringe festival - at times it seems that every third show here is ‘interactive,’ ‘immersive’, ‘promenade’, ‘physical’, ‘site-specific’ and/or ’experimental’ - it seems a pity that the team behind this latest production of Byron's closet drama Cain at Jury's Inn has chosen such a straightforward approach to reimagining the text for performance: the play is divided (somewhat inexplicably) between staged reading and a small-scale two-hander.

Byron's language is beautiful but hardly pacy and this production does little to counter the major problem with the text: that a philosophical monologue-trading between Lucifer and Cain over the course of fifty minutes doesn't necessarily make for the most scintillating drama.

That said, the actors do their best with the material and each does a thoroughly winning job. As perpetual second-favourite Cain, Alex Pardy brings a quiet, naturalistic touch to a role that could, thanks to Byron's perpetually bombastic language, have easily been exaggerated. Less subtle but by no means less watchable is Igor Memic as Lucifer. With a plasticine face that cranks up every emotion to eleven and a palpable intensity that makes us all too aware of his diabolical power, Memic plays Lucifer as equal parts Milton's Satan, Wilde's Lord Henry (complete with plenty of homoeroticism and a distractingly attractive wool coat), Byronesque and very much inhuman. Both actors are a joy to watch, and bring life and intensity to a script that does not always conjure such elements naturally. While this staging of Cain isn't always the best use of their talents, it's a pleasure to watch two such talented actors at work. I'll be seeing their next show.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

In the darkness beyond the gates of Eden, the first born son of man holds nothing but contempt for the God that expelled his parents from the sacred garden - until the angel Lucifer appears, offering salvation ... at a price.

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets