Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Café Nordo Presents “Sundown at the Devil’s House”

Rebecca M. Davis in Sundown at the Devil's House and band (Joe Iano)
Sundown at the Devil’s House
Café Nordo
Through August 6, 2017

“It's the Devil's last night on Earth, and she and her cohorts will titillate, beguile, and entertain the audience with stories of the Devil's greatest triumphs and darkest secrets.” So says the website information. If there is a reason in there, somewhere, why it’s the Devil’s “last” night, it escaped notice, but the cast of players certainly did their best to titillate, beguile and entertain.

They sing some songs, and tell a lot of stories. There are pseudo-Biblical tales with completely different, though recognizable components. One of the strongest aspects of the script is the explanation of the Devil as the Fallen Angel, though the description of the jobs that angels do in “Heaven” might not match almost any ideas you ever thought would be done in Heaven, including “doing God’s taxes.” That one is a not-very-appropriate job choice, since God probably is not financially beholden to any country’s laws, no matter which kind of God you believe in.
 Still, the Fallen Angel fell, we’re told, because she was in charge of Heavenly Music and decided to improvise. It’s a lovely thought, if  your vision of Heaven is a place where angels may not innovate.

As with many Nordo shows, you’re invited to dress to the theme and come ready to party. Here, you enter the Secret Satanic Society of Fallen Angels. You join Society members Kai Curtis, Alyza Delpan-Monley, Madison Jade Jones, and Cody Smith as they attempt to summon the Devil. Since they’ve been trying to do so every year from 1862 and haven’t succeeded, we’re not sure if anything will happen. But this is a comedy, mostly, so of course She appears. Actually, She inhabits Rebecca M. Davis, who plays the bartender, Frank.

But first they have to sing to Her and entice her with the help of the St. Judas Stringband (Mai Li Pittard, Ryan Jochim, and Aaron J. Shay) and some songs composed by Shay. Eddie DeHais, writer and director, infuses dance, song, and story to bring the evening to life.

Then there is the food. Always inventive and focused on the themes of an event, this food is Southern inspired with an appetizer of dates stuffed with mango chutney and roasted almonds, wrapped in bacon, then buffalo deviled eggs, a Garden of Eden salad, jambalaya and cornbread and ending up with Mississippi Mud Pie.

If you are a picky eater, like me, you will appreciate their many accommodations to all kinds of diets, food limitations, and even just dislikes of bleu or goat cheese. But you should always expect the unexpected via food, because  it is part of the adventure. Even if you don’t like certain foods, give their unique recipes a try. It helps keep the event memorable and each one is completely different one from another.

The script for this evening was a bit rocky (as mentioned above about paying taxes) but the main story, a Faustian bargain with the Devil in which She allows her bargainers to “Take what you want,” has nuance and complexity and several possible meanings. While it’s about 10 minutes too long, it is the most fun and complete story.

It’s a fun and inventive evening with compatible, interesting food, and definitely something different from whatever you think of as “usual” in theatrical terms. For more information, go to www.cafenordo.com or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2960151 or call 800-838-3006.