Princes of Darkness at the Theater for the New City, 8/8-8/14/2010
“If you meet me, have some courtesy/have some sympathy and some taste.” These words that Mick Jagger wrote about the devil came to mind while watching Princes of Darkness, a play written by and starring Bill Connington and directed by Rachel Klein. He portrays Satan as a psychotic hack magician with a face like the Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine who’s also quite charismatic. He drew you in and you sympathized with him. Connington’s performance was easily the best part of the show. As the devil, he was campy yet threatening and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I loved it every time he addressed the audience directly as he proved he certainly has the chops to carry a one man show such as this.
Where the show faltered however, was in the script. The main concept was that people in positions of power are fatally flawed and that’s why the world is in the crapper. Not a bad idea but they could have done much more with it. Lucifer uses Hamlet, Oedipus, and Dracula, as his examples. I found their connection to the play to be flimsy. Once the Hamlet portion started to sort of make sense, he moved on to Oedipus. Oedipus and his mommy issues somehow segued into a statement on soldiers in frivolous wars and a creepy rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” That was the other problem I had. There were too many songs and strange interpretive dances that didn’t do much to serve the story. One or two would have been fine but by the time Dracula was dancing with a glittery scarf my eyes started glazing over. These diversions felt like they were only there to take up space and make the show longer. All I wanted was more Satan because honestly I could’ve listened to him speak for the entire duration of the play. Princes of Darkness had the potential to be really good and it had a fantastic star but it just didn’t come together for me. It needed to be bolder, which is something a play about the devil shouldn’t have had a problem with.