"Heartfelt real life story portrayed"
by Sascha Cooper for remotegoat on 10/05/19

The Lantern Theatre has seen many shows there in recent years, but never has such a heartfelt and inspiring one man show taken place. Daniel Finlay took on the challenging role of Father Damien De Veuster, who was known as the lepur priest of Molokai and patron saint of outcasts. This role pushed this actor to places that were passionate and extremely powerful to watch.

I personally never knew about this real life inspirational man until I saw 'Damien'. What was clear is the risk he took to his health as he gave people with leprosy hope when they felt there was nothing left. Because of his actions, we would not have the progress made in terms of this disease today and that was so sensitively portrayed by Finlay. What should also be noted is that the raw emotion he showed as the reality of his situation hit him came to light. It was almost as if he knew exactly what choices to make for this complex character in a seamless way. Although it was scripted, the awkward pauses as he shifted the set and uneasiness as things unfolded in front of him made Damien more grounded and interesting to watch.

Interestingly, it was not just the way he held the audience as he shared his story with us that was impressive, but the way the whole stage used the set and the use of candles and the gorgeous smell of frankincense took us into his world of the church. Jannette Eddisford's directorial vision added more detail to all the senses and needs to be applauded for those choices too.

Damien is another top 5 highlight for this year's Brighton Fringe and is extremely highly recommended to be seen.

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