Ralph Fiennes Beating the Devil ★★★★☆

‘Covid-19 seems to be a sort of dirty bomb, thrown into the body to cause havoc’ – Bridge Theatre

Bridge Theatre has officially returned to live indoor performances together with Ralph Fiennes, starring in a new 12-monologue coronavirus-themed performance “Beat the Devil“.

Written by David Hare, the ‘covid-monologe’ was created as a response to Hare’s personal experience of contracting the coronavirus.

Hare contracted covid at the start of the lockdown and shared all that he experienced in his diary, expressing his rage at the government’s slow response to the pandemic.

At the beginning of the lockdown nobody seemed to know much about the virus, and many doctors are not altogether sure they know much more today. Suffering from random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness, which mixed with the fear, dream, medicine and politics create a monologue of urgency and power.

The stage is almost bare and the theatre’s capacity is significantly reduced (from 900 to 250 seats). Safeguarding measures are in place with all the visitors wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

Fiennes emerges on stage looking like a middle-class average man and speaks in diary dates in Hare’s illness chronological order. His character says: “I don’t have survivor’s guilt. I have survivor’s rage”. He speaks of government slow response, failure to secure the country, and failure to provide sufficient medical equipment and much more. His monologue is full of passion of the recently lived experience.

Despite the horrors of covid and political rage, this is a story of transformation. Hare’s illness transformed him into a more grateful and empathetic person who is simply grateful to be alive.

in Bridge Theatre until 31 October.

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