TESTAMENT is a frenetic play that fizzes along for 60 enjoyable minutes, helped in no small part by a young and vibrant cast.
Written and directed by Sam Edmunds, presented by Chalk Line Theatre and playing on Sunday and Monday night (28th and 29th) at The Hope Theatre in London’s Islington, the play gets inside the head of car accident victim Max.
While Max (a very good Nick Young) lies in hospital, his mind goes into overdrive. He is visited by both an enthusiastic Jesus, dressed all in white (David Angland), and Lucifer (Daniel Leadbitter) – yes, you’ve guessed correctly, in black. They are vying for his soul and mind. His girlfriend, Tess (Hannah Benson), also ‘pays’ him a visit. Unbeknown to Max, Tess, who was in the car, did not live to tell the tale.
Completing the jigsaw is Max’s brother Chris (William Shackleton) who was driving the car at the time of the accident and who carries guilt on his shoulders – even though the other driver involved in the accident was drunk at the wheel. And there is also Max’s doctor (Jensen Gray), who has the task of dealing with the dangerous swelling on Max’s brain. Will Chris consent to Max having surgery that could save his life?
Through flashback, we learn how Max and Tess met (in a disco) and the friendship between the brothers. Amusing fare, a perfect counterpoint to the increasing madness of Max.
There are some clever touches – for example, imaginative use of the car’s headlights, the bible lying at the end of Max’s bed – and good writing from Edmunds. Will Max end his life as Lucifer demands or let Tess go as the Messiah urges? It is for you to find out.
One last comment. The lighting is as frenetic as the play so don’t go with a hangover.
Testament is like being in a mad house for an hour.