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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

The Promise

The Liverpool Actors Academy of Arts Actors Studio
36 Seel Street, Liverpool

May 9 – May 14

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There are a lot of nice touches that have freshened a time-honoured story of greed and reprisal. Some strong characterisations, a lot of catchy songs and more than a few unexpected plot twists … non of which will be revealed here, rest assured.

Pauline Daniels is her usual exemplary self as The Devil, cackling and snarling in all the right places and belting out the best tune of the night in Playing With Fire with steely soulfulness. Not a Devil to cross.


How far would you go to get what you want from life? For young pop singer Daniel (David Cope) he’d go as far as selling his soul to the Devil to reach the level of fame and adulation he’s dreamed of. Naturally, the Devil is more than willing to take the boy at his word, promising eternal youth and unrivalled success in return for not only Daniel’s soul but also those of everyone he comes into contact with.

Emma Lisi as young Daniel’s femme fatal / number one fan / lover, Sarah, also came across with a great deal of emotion, and Danielle Malone as Haitian potion maker and Devil’s sidekick, Madam Tanka, was beautifully evil in a toned-down, James Bond villain sort of way.

By far the most impressive youngsters on show here though is Kate Mellor, who triples up on roles but who’s main character, Kelly, is full of life and grit and determination, with strong vocals on the songs and an evocative nature to her acting. Excellent, too, is Bobby Brown as Daniel’s PA, Bobby, who is just accommodating enough, and wily enough, to come across as credible.

Where the play could be improved is oh so simple to say, but a lot more difficult to put into practice. Many of the cast were making their debuts and in providing a platform for their obvious talents, Pauline Daniels – not only as Director of The Promise but also as Artistic Director of The Actors Studio – should be warmly applauded. Joe Wall has written some very good songs here and there are some moments of real energy and emotion thanks to Tony Rice’s script. If only the first-timers in the cast could relax a little more and enjoy the experience, things without doubt will be a whole lot smoother and I’m sure that, with someone as Stage-wise as Pauline Daniels at the helm, all of those on show here will get there in the end and without having to sell their souls to do it.


The Liverpool Academy of Arts Actors Studio: 0151 709 9034




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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