His Majesty, the Devil
“A play with music” is how His Majesty, The Devil is described, and indeed the original music composed by New York actor Colin Pip Dixon is an integral and vital aspect of this show. Based on the musings and philosophy found in Dostoyevsky’s novels – and possibly with a nod to the Rolling Stones – this sympathy for the devil was written by Dixon’s late mother Alexandra Devon, and gives us an affable and dishevelled Satan, who comes on the eve of a planned terrorist attack todebate with the terrorist the nature of good and evil. It’s a quirky and eccentric manifestation. MacIntyre Dixon is a shambling Wurzel Gummidge of a devil – soft hat, torn suit, bow tie – who trails an extravagantly decorated luggage trolley, and expresses a wish to do Pilates and ride a bike. The terrorist (real life son Colin Pip Dixon) is wild-eyed and fanatical, horrified by the damage to our planet and the suffering to our children that humankind has brought to the world. The music played on viola and violins is a haunting and emotional counterpoint to the dialogue of this debate, often used to underline the meaning of the words, and give us time to reflect on them. Arnaud Ghillebaert is The Shadow, the elegant, tuxedoed viola player who never speaks, is aloof from the discussion yet emotionally attuned to it. All three characters play their music as part of the interaction, and the score is subtle and evocative. We are left wondering about choice – we can create or destroy at will. But does Satan have this choice, or is he merely fulfilling a preordained and necessary role, a negative for the positive, a darkness in which the light can shine? Do good men do evil deeds through the best of intentions? Has the Devil more sympathy than man, whose deeds are so often diabolical? Very thought provoking – and very well acted.