What made the first generation of punks perfect were their imperfections; the odd wrong chord here, the slightly out of tune vocal there, only helping to make the music of adolescents accessible to other adolescents. This was no out of reach, highly technical, way of creating art; these were kids making the most of what they had in order to tell their story as honestly as they could. Punk told us that the most powerful way of telling a story was to tell it honestly, using your own voice.
Following in a similar DIY mind-set, Devil, a one-man show, is a superb way of delivering a story about adolescents through the mind and voice of an adolescent. Complete with his imperfections, Jamie, our central character is brought to life through the complexities of teenage-hood including it’s know it all mind-set, it’s moments of breaking down and just wanting our mum, and its difficulty in putting into words just how we are feeling as we face adult experiences for the first time. As with punk, it’s these moments of imperfection which make the character believable and reinforce our connection with him.
Delivered across a 60-minute show, ‘Devil’ investigates the growing pains, grief and uncertainty of adolescence. What makes it perfect are its imperfections; the use of uncertain teenage language, the tremble in the voice when communicating, the uncertainty of knowing what to do with your hands when you’re talking. Jamie’s character becomes our hero because he is both real and because you want what he wants; the courage to tell his story as honestly as he can.
Combining the usual hurdles involved in delivering a one person show yet adding greater complexity with first and third person narratives, changing accents, changing genders, changing ages and live guitar performances, Devil is a triumph as a complex show made easy to get lost inside of. The punks knew what they were doing.