Based on a Brothers Grimm tale about a young girl who’s sold to the devil by her unwitting father (he’s soused), the story is, well, quite grim—at least until the fairytale ending. But on top of the exhilarating production, five of the six performers sing, act, dance, and play an instrument—and the effect is nothing less than thrilling. It’s reminiscent of old vaudeville, minus the slapstick, or one of those medieval touring minstrel shows. And the fun doesn’t stop when the curtain goes down. After the play, the performers reassemble in a corner of the lobby—aka “Satan’s Speakeasy”—where they sing and play devil-themed music, pulling out unsuspecting onlookers from the crowd to dance with them. By this time of the night, there was a kind of delirium in the air that comes from seeing great art of any kind. The folks at Berkeley Rep must have sensed it, too, because they extended the run for three more weeks, through January 22nd.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley, 510-647-2949, berkeleyrep.org.
Previous Review in December issue.