Paradise Lost at the Ustinov

DANCER and actor Ben Duke brings an extraordinary, inventive and powerful one-man interpretation of Milton’s 1667 epic poem, Paradise Lost, to the Ustinov Studio at Bath Theatre Royal, on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th July.

The show has attracted so much interest that an extra performance has been added due, a 2.30pm matinee on Friday 9th.

Written, directed and performed by Ben Duke, Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) combines theatre, comedy and movement on a journey through the creation of everything, beginning with Lucifer’s rebellion and ending with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from The Garden of Eden, condensed into 80 minutes.

Ben Duke, who first took this solo tour-de-force on the road in 2015, says: “For me 2020 was a time of panic and creative paralysis. I felt unsafe and it made me realise what a privileged position I normally occupy in order to have the head space for art. It is a luxury and one that I took for granted before March 2020. In the name of ‘coming back greener’ I am offering not something new but something old. I am upcycling Paradise Lost… which involves getting rid of the cobwebs on the smoke machine and getting a new costume with a larger waist!”

As a choreographer and director, Ben Duke has worked with Rambert, Scottish Dance Theatre, Dance Umbrella and Phoenix Dance Theatre and has performed with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.

Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) is produced by Lost Dog theatre company, which was formed in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer. His performance in Paradise Lost won Duke the 2016 Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance/

For tickets contact Theatre Royal Bath  on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk/ustinov

Photograph by Danilo Moroni