By Jay Menard
Mike Delamont is a veteran of the Fringe circuit and has graced the London Fringe stages for years — often as God, the Scottish Drag Queen, and last year as himself in a deeply personal production about his mother. But this year, Delamont has released his wild side and gives the Devil his due in Hell Yeah! An Evening with the Devil.
Delamont is a true professional. He’s built up enough cachet to be able to phone it in once in awhile, but he consistently delivers hilarious writing, structured content, and an incredibly immersive performance. He eschews the Scottish brogue and frumpy dress for a drawl reminiscent of a southern preacher, hikes up his slacks, slicks down his hair, and buffs his Ned Flanders-esque “Dr. Fuzzenstein.”
Hell Yeah introduces us to the Devil, and he explains his relationship to God — loved him early (think Old Testament-era, punishment-heavy Lord); not so fond of him once he “found Jesus.” He shares how he’s not a Fallen Angel in the truest sense; how the Devil’s music is way better than “Jesus Music” — and that it’s a great recruiting tool; who the One Horseman of the Apocalypse is (hint, he’s already here); and how he managed to insert an extra book into the Bible under the publisher’s nose. We even get a guest appearance via FaceTime from an old familiar face.
Ultimately, he wants to show that’s he’s not really evil. Just more of a dick.
The Prince of Darkness also shows that he’s an excellent improvisational comic. The middle segment of the show features the Devil answering questions from the audience, which we’re encouraged to submit before the show. It’s a display of on-the-fly humour that shows both Delamont’s quick wit and significant experience. For being the only non-structured part of the show, it doesn’t derail the pace at all. It fits in seamlessly and is a welcome contribution.
And, as anyone who has seen Delamont in London before can attest, he’s well-versed in the foibles of the Forest City. He takes a few shots at the city — but not in a mean-spirited way, of course. He’s not evil, remember, he’s just a dick.
You can’t go wrong with a Delamont Fringe show and Hell Yeah! Is no exception. He’s polished, professional, and a master of his craft. He embraces his characters so deeply. He made us believe as God and, in Hell Yeah! he truly gives the devil his due. As usual, it’s a must-see stop on the London Fringe circuit.
This review originally appears on theatreinlondon.ca.