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  • Writer's pictureLisa in the theatre

REVIEW: Dancing with the Devil (Scottish Tour)

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Cumbernauld Theatre

25 February 2023


Dancing with the Devil, Bible John play, Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom

Ye dancin’? Just be careful who’s asking…

1968. The Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow. Young lovers, dancing the night away, courting love…and for some, danger. For lurking in the shadows was a serial killer who will come to be known as Bible John.

I loved the set, the red, the disco ball - it really does feel like we're at the Barrowlands. I also liked how the story was told from the perspective of three young women. They want to go out to the dancing, but as girls start to go missing and some later turn up dead, is it worth it? Where else can they escape their parents (or husbands!) and meet a boy?

Cleverly, we meet a number of young men at the club too - all of them named John. It's a common name and any, or none of them could be Bible John.

Everyone has secrets. Who can you trust?

There is a well fleshed-out detective character. He's desperate to catch the killer and to protect his daughter - but he is not faultless either. With all the conflicting reports about Bible John's appearance and even his accent, he has a difficult job ahead of him.

In between the drama there is a cracking soundtrack of 1960's hits from the likes of Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black. But unfortunately the direction here feels a bit odd. The action grinds to a halt as the singer walks silently on to stage, stands in the centre, sings her song, then does the long silent walk off stage again. It felt awkward every time and I wish these parts were more integrated.

Even more unfortunate, we couldn't hear the vocals during some of the songs. This production was blighted by more sound and technical issues than I have ever witnessed at a show. Hats off to the cast who carried on regardless.

This is a fascinating subject matter for a play and there is a lot to intrigue an audience here. True crime stories are always tricky and this one never becomes sensationalist or voyeuristic.

I'm pleased to read that the production received the blessing of the victims families. It needs a few tweaks (and please, better wigs for the girls!) to fully do them justice.

Dancing with the Devil, Bible John play, Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom


🌟 REVIEW: Dancing with the Devil (Scottish Tour). Bible John play. Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom. Theatre, Play, Music. 🌟

[Review first posted on Instagram 3 March 2023]

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Lisa in the theatre, theatre blog, Scottish theatre, UK reviewer


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