Spotlites, Edinburgh

Evil is nobody’s idea of a fun day out at the theatre. It’s an emotionally demanding piece.

A searing monologue, adapted by Benny Haag from a novel by Jan Guillou, it’s brilliantly performed by Jesper Arin. It’s the story of Erik, a young Swedish boy who has been systematically brutalised by his father (‘the old man’ as Erik habitually refers to him), ritually beaten on an everyday basis. When the chance finally comes for him to escape to a prestigious boarding school, Erik jumps at the chance; but it isn’t long before he realises that the institution – Stjarnhov near Stockholm – is every bit as vicious as the place from which he has recently fled.

Arin is a compelling actor – he lays out the story in a cool, matter-of-fact tone, never flinching from detail, drawing us completely into the narrative. Perhaps it’s the fact that I had a school background that was horribly similar to the events outlined here, that made this story so personally affecting; or perhaps its simply that it’s so beautifully written, it would have the same affect on just about anyone. Whatever the case, this is a remarkable piece of storytelling that deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

Just don’t expect to come out laughing…

4.6 stars

Philip Caveney


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