It can be refreshing to see one man stand on a stage without any gimmicks and simply tell a story. Unfortunately, it can also work to the opposite effect and be incredibly dull. It is commendable to get up on the stage on your own with no prop other than your own acting ability, and Jesper Arin is a fairly competent performer, but the resulting hour still feels relatively uneventful.

Based on the Swedish novel by Jan Guillou, Evil tells the story of Eric, a young lad who has been expelled from boarding school, beaten up by his father, and suffered his fair share of violence. As a story that tackles issues about bullying and violence, it has a forceful message, but one that feels disappointingly lacklustre and uninspiring here. Translating a novel onto the stage single-handedly is a big task though, but by the end I was willing for anything else to happen and hoping that Arin would have some other tricks up his sleeves. At times the emotion of the piece is fully embodied in acting, but the subject matter of teenage angst and overbearing violence begins to tire after a while.

It would be unfair to say that Arin does not give a decent performance because, for the most part, he tells the story well, switching with ease between different characters. He also has a slightly unnerving habit of looking directly and somewhat intensely at the audience to try to keep us engaged. Towards the end his storytelling became significantly less confident, however, and there were a few times where he noticeably messed up his lines.

There is very little to say about this performance other than it does what it says on the tin: it’s one man telling a fairly uninspiring story. If you are thinking about what to have for lunch by the end of a performance, then it has not done a very good job of capturing your attention. This is not the worst show out there, but if you are looking for something enjoyable or innovative then look elsewhere. There are better ways to kill an hour. Go buy some frozen yogurt – it will leave you a lot more satisfied than this.

The Blurb

Expelled and sent off to boarding school, Eric resolves to put violence and his abusive father behind him. There he finds a friend, but institutionalised bullying puts their friendship to an excruciating test. Based on the award-winning novel.