The first act of Mac Rogers' smart, darkly funny play (at the Fringe Festival) scores largely as a straight-faced satire of the soullessness of corporate culture, as wishy-washy new employee Tom discovers that all of his ambitious co-workers are part of a small prayer circle of Satan-worshippers. They're so reasonable and welcoming when they say so that it's not long before doubting Tom is sharing at their Sunday meetings and getting used to thinking of the devil when they greet each other with "The lord be with you". While carefully laying the solid groundwork for a tidy chiller, Rogers plays with our notions of religious tolerance and of our cultural acceptance of selfishness: this is clever, pitchfork-funny stuff. Although the second act - more plot-driven, more serious in tone, and focused more on family than on corporate dynamics - includes a plot twist that is thematically justified but not adequately prepared for dramatically, the play is always bold and effective both as swift, engaging entertainment and as needling social comment. As played by a virtually weak-link-free ensemble, Hail Satan is, ahem, a hell of a good show.
Also blogged by: [Aaron]