Arts Reviews

The Devil You Know @ Lakeside Arts

This performance, focusing on the supernatural, followed the story of four friends who were creating a film. Produced by Nottingham New Theatre, it was performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. 

The friends were fascinated by the urban legend of the ‘Faceless Lady’, a demonic woman with no eyes. When struggling to think of original ideas for their film, the apparent leader of the group (Quinn) had the extreme suggestion of summoning the lady in the woods, and catching her on camera. She wanted her friend, Bailey, to become a ‘proxy’ of the demon. This led to Bailey’s disappearance, revealing the effect that supernatural events can have on friendships and demonstrating that people only look out for themselves. This is especially true because the ‘Faceless Lady’ would kill all of them unless a sacrifice was made.

The group played a lot of pranks on each other, so it was difficult for the audience to tell whether some events were pranks or whether they really happened. This includes whether Bailey and Quinn were pranking the two boys the entire time about Bailey being possessed. I found the performance generally hard to understand – I’m unsure whether this was just me, if the play really was unclear, or if this was the point and it was up to the audience to interpret it for themselves. Another issue was that the plot was unoriginal, since many other horror stories are set in the woods, summoning demons with an Ouija board.

“the acting was certainly impressive and must be praised”

However, the acting was certainly impressive and must be praised, and a range of effective props were used. The use of multimedia was successful, which involved previously shot clips being projected on a white canvas. This was significant because some shocking confessions were revealed through this. The sound effects also added to the element of horror, emphasising the downfall of their freedom. This included a loud ‘bang’ at the start, making the audience jump.

“The characters were developed well”

The characters were developed well, since they all had key traits. Quinn clearly enjoyed being in control, encouraging her friends to take drugs in the woods and leave Bailey there alone, which influenced the audience to dislike her. Bailey seemed to look up to her and wanted to impress her, while Charlie was sceptical about a lot of things that Quinn was saying. Lex was timid and expressed guilt and fear about what occurred in the woods.

Overall, this performance lacked creativity in the plot and it was hard to follow. Despite this, the other aspects of the play, such as the acting and props, meant it was still an enjoyable performance and it was visually pleasing.


 Emily Patel

Featured Image Courtesy of Nottingham Lakeside Arts Facebook Page.

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