A Divine Comedy

Mike Maran Productions

Valvona & Crolla

From 10 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

It's a bold move to try and bring Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia to the stage as a one-man show. Which is perhaps why Mike Maran's two-hour-long solo performance frames the idea through that of a performer struggling to adapt it for the stage.

Having rented an expensive room in Italy, yet failing to be inspired, he drops into an angry sleep only to wake into his own dreamstate version of the tale. He travels through all three of the volumes, Inferno, Purgatiorio and Paradiso, less in pursuit of religious awakening, but instead focusing on the understanding of love.

Over the last decade, Maran has proven himself a practiced raconteur and performer with an easy-going, relaxed air about him. This has the feeling of being told a story in a friend's parlour on a warm evening.

As the audience is led through the various circles of Hell and purging cliffs of the mountain of Purgatory, the story is peppered with snippets of Dante's original Tuscan dialect. The story is always lighthearted, even through the realms of infernal horror.

It's a far more comfortable and easy-going, if lengthier, piece of Fringe than much of the rest on offer, but one that affords a modicom of class and even a glass of wine or sparkling water during the interval.

There are few more enjoyable times to be spent for the devotees of great literature, than in the company of warm friends and a grand tale, and that is what you will receive with A Divine Comedy.