note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Carl A. Rossi
Andrew … John Meigs
Bernadette … Angela Rose
Jack … Brian Turner
Jerrod … Alexander Albregts
Chad; Raphael; Martin; Bouncer … Jeff Zorabedian
Zeitgeist Stage helps to ring down summer’s curtain with its enjoyable production of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s award-winning SAY YOU LOVE SATAN, where Andrew, a pudgy young man who loves his Dostoyevsky, becomes involved with Jack, a bare-chested stud who claims to be the son of the Devil. After seeing David J. Miller’s stunning production of that killer-comedy POPCORN, several months ago I didn’t know what to expect, but SAY YOU LOVE SATAN is popcorn itself, light and fluffy with a few hard kernels (i.e., the darkening plot) to remind you that this is, after all, cutting edge theatre.
Mr. Miller has directed in mellow, tongue-in-cheek mode, this time around, and his cast is near-perfect; John Meigs plays Andrew with refreshing directness and sincerity; his character is silly, dreamy and well-balanced by Alexander Albregts’ gentle Jerrod, the would-be boyfriend --- their performances while not conventionally masculine never dip into camp or effeminacy. As Bernadette, the obligatory female sidekick, Angela Rose for all her noise and bustle blessedly remains on a life-size scale even when she is suddenly launched into heroine mode. Jeff Zorabedian, who has a beginner’s comic timing in his quartet of roles (that is a compliment, now), is undermined by his baby-faced (and bodied) youth; a fact reinforced when he appears in leather regalia --- the result is far from erotic.
Brian Turner is Jack and I type “is” rather than “plays” because the lean, sinewy Mr. Turner, a newcomer to me, brings so much of his own physicality to the role, along with a street hustler’s hardness and a dancer’s grace, that it is difficult to determine where Jack begins and where Mr. Turner leaves off. That’s some challenge --- to be the sexy incarnation of Pure Evil --- and between the Messrs. Miller and Turner, this anti-Christ is all the more sexy, compelling and threatening for not strutting and posing; no, the fascination comes with our gazing upon an Other --- Mr. Turner eerily conveys the sense that Jack is Something Else beneath his skin (a “skin suit”, to borrow a phrase from the evening); he could be serpent or goat or wolf or whatever creatures cavort with the powers of darkness in medieval woodcuts. Add to it Mr. Turner’s lofty, sardonic amusement towards the mortals around him and you have a performance to tell your grandchildren about (or vice versa). Just as I made circles around Jesse Soursourian after seeing him as one of POPCORN’s killers, I may lower my eyes should I ever pass Mr. Turner on the street, telling myself he was only playing a role --- or was he?
HELP SAVE BOSTON’S HISTORIC GAIETY THEATRE!