Berkoff's Hell

Steven Berkoff
George Dillon
Spotlites @ The Merchant's Hall

The piece begins with Dillon sitting facing a flickering light offstage. As the slow mournful ambient music quietly drones in the background, he begins to lament in an agonisingly slow monotone, drawing out the words from within some deep-seated throne of pain and torment.

His woes and endless stream of disappointed complaints and impotent whines about loneliness are at the same time both pitiable and ironically funny. As 'Harry' slowly describes the state of abject monotony and grinding inability to find joy in anything, it's a testament to the skills of Dillon as a captivating performer that the piece never descends into the pantomime that it stands on the precipice of falling into.

The piece is on Dillon's 21st anniversary of his solo career, and his performance of Hell still as fresh and as soul consuming as when he premièred it in 1992. The wallowing, self-pitying story has lost none of its power to both sadden and to entertain and as such remains as ever a masterpiece.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan