THE DEVIL INSIDE Stuart Macrae and Louise Welsh

What a lot we owe Robert Louis Stevenson. The Devil Inside, a new opera by Stuart Macrae with an excellent libretto by Louise Welsh is based on his 1893 short story called The Bottle Imp. The Devil Inside is playing for two nights at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre before touring through the rest of the UK and to Toronto. It is a co-commission and co-production with Music Theatre Wales.

Macrae and Welsh have collaborated before to write two operas for Scottish Opera, Remembrance Day and Ghost Patrol. Macrae observes that the pieces have become longer and The Devil Inside is certainly a beautifully paced re-telling of this older story.

The story is about all those ways in which we can let our moral guard slip. It’s about greed, addiction and ultimately selflessness. Who among us is capable of resisting the promise of a fail-safe investment? Life, as in the Faust legend, is long, and reparation a distant issue to be dealt with as and when.

Apologies to Mr Macrae, but I’m not qualified to judge the score. Those around me who were more musically educated, seemed happy enough. It’s great to encounter so many young people in Scottish Opera audiences. Indeed the young woman next to me was there on a press ticket for an online University newspaper. Didn’t catch her name or the name of the paper, but glad to see this interest.

The libretto, on the other hand, I do feel more at home reviewing and it was good. Excellent story-telling with a straightforward beginning, middle and end on view. Lots of scope for the characters to show their inner turmoil in the drama.

A pared back set was moved around by a black-clad crew who earned their own applause among the curtain calls.

Run continues tonight, 30 Jan, at 7.15 King’s Theatre Box Office 0131 529 6000

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