Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea | 1927Names are important; they personify who we are, what we stand for, we are inseparable from the labels inscribed upon us. You never forget a good name and a good title is of equal importance. A good title should grab you and hold your imagination hostage, sow the seed from which the performance shall grow and tantalise your theatrical tastebuds leaving you salivating in anticipation. I spotted ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ some time ago when rummaging through productions forthcoming at The Studio and became instantly transfixed by the poetic idiom. Without a second thought I dove into the wild waves of the World Wide Web in search of more titbits to sate my growing curiosity.

I discovered that my quarry is the first production of emerging English troupe 1927. The show debuted at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe where it won several awards including the Fringe First. With dangerously high expectations I pottered down to Circular Quay to indulge in a night at the theatre.

As the troupes’ title suggests Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has an antiquated feel. As the audience enters the theatre they’re greeted by the enchanting original score performed predominantly live by Lillian Henley (Composer, Pianist and Performer) on the grand piano. Conversely the production itself is quite contemporary with Suzanne Andrade (Writer, Director and Performer) and Esme Appleton (Performer and Costume Designer) playing in front of, behind, around and interacting with the projected animations of Paul Barritt (Animator, Designer and Projectionist). It’s an ambitious project, but together with their vignette form, hauntingly delicate animated settings and Andrade’s grisly poetic tales they manage to pull it off. The delivery of the show is perfect. Andrade and Appleton’s timing, both in dialogue and gesture, is faultless and it has to be because the Barritt’s projections can’t improvise.

One criticism is that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea isn’t really about anything which will disappoint some audiences. The arty wanker in me was left a little wanting in this department, but the rest (the very large majority) of me had a great night. The innovative and playful delivery of Andrade’s twisted fairy tales is without a doubt an experience in itself and accessible to a great range of audiences.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is the first offering from an exciting new troupe and it’s already taken them around the world. Keep your eye out for 1927, with such an inventive debut show I’m quite excited to see where and how they develop their form.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Venue: The Studio | Sydney Opera House
Dates/Times: 17 – 21 June @ 8.15pm, 24 – 28 June @ 9.30pm
Tickets: From $20 to $49 or $20 to $39 concession
Bookings: 9250 7777 or

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