The Glorious Damnation of Eddie Small
Weak storytelling lets down strong performances in this new bluegrass musical
This article is from 2015.
The problem with Faustian pacts in theatre is that they've been a cliche since Marlowe wrote Doctor Faustus. Selling your soul to the devil almost always ends one way (badly), and the audience know it.
This is the premise of The Glorious Damnation of Eddie Small, which tells Eddie's story as he sells his friend's musical soul in exchange for his own bluegrass stardom. The friend dynamic does provide a slight twist on the tale, but ultimately, this story-line is unremarkable at best.
Small's character background is underdeveloped and his relationships are poorly formed, which makes it difficult to empathise with his situation. Add to that a self-conscious awareness of the irregularity of bluegrass music in a musical, and the play feels awkward and the format forced.
With a stronger story-line, this could be an exciting new show: the cast are all greatly talented, both as musicians and actors. The ensemble work is accomplished, and Stanton Wright's portrayal of the Stetson-wearing devil, in particular, is distinctive. But unfortunately, the devil's in the detail, and the detail in the script lacks depth.
Bedlam Theatre, 629 0430, until Aug 22 (not 12), 6pm, £10 (£8).