The Devil’s Bride review: A good example of theatre which appeals to primitive impulses

The Devil's Bride. Photo: Courtesy of Wells Maltings

The Devil's Bride. Photo: Courtesy of Wells Maltings - Credit: Courtesy of Wells Maltings

Rumpus Theatre Company have been touring the country for many years, engaging faithful audiences with their productions of Gothic horror stories. Their latest at the new Wells Maltings Theatre on Sunday evening was up to their usual high standards.

It was based on a Victorian story by Sheridan Le Fanu. Set in 17th century Leiden and Rotterdam, an aspiring artist Godfried Schalkin (a real person), studies with famous painter Gerard Douw, and falls in love with his niece and ward, Rose. However, long ago, Douw made a pact with the Devil in order to achieve fame as an artist. When Schalkin falls in love with Rose,the Devil returns to collects Rose, as the price for his fame.

The brand new theatre at Wells with its high stage, fine lighting and sound system was ideal for this wonderfully creepy hokum. Actors David Martin, John Goodrum and Natalie Griffin were ably directed by Karen Henson. The adaptation, in true Grand Guignol style, by Richard Layton, was fine.

This was a good example of theatre which appeals to primitive impulses. One can imagine our earliest ancestors gathering around a fire, telling spooky tales which explain the forces which glower beyond the flickering flames.


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