Angel: Take This Body

In this one-man show, Christopher Peacock plays a man of the cloth struggling daily to overcome the temptations of the flesh. This is a strong performance of a well-written script tackling hefty issues. The agony of this constant battle is eloquently expressed in a poetic piece of writing and the production is slick: tightly directed and intimate.

There is another gear this production could reach, and it may be worth having an outside eye cast over it – a director who is not also the author, perhaps.

We meet the school chaplain in his drawing room, offering Hail Marys to The Blessed Virgin. An imagined visitor, Michael, arrives. In a one-sided exposition it becomes swiftly clear that the two are entangled sexually, and that the priest has resorted to self-flagellation to pay for his sins. In this post-Savile era I find myself speculating about whether Michael is a schoolboy, but it transpires that he’s one of the many rent boys the priest has been employing. After years of denial the man of god finally capitulated when turning forty. Then began the collapse of his faith. “What need did I have of faith when I had discovered the meaning of life? Joy! Paradise!”

The psychological torture when the sins of the flesh win over his celibate devotion to God are well expressed here. “If we find pleasure in men and give our body to them, then we have found God on earth, and we have no need of God in heaven.” The priest refers to Pascal’s wager: if you believe in God and you are wrong, you lose nothing. If you don’t believe in God and you’re wrong, you suffer eternal damnation. But Michael has challenged him, suggesting Pascal’s wager “points out not God’s existence, but man’s despair.” The priest, in terminal spiritual decline is “exhausted by a battle in which I am the only combatant”.

Peacock allows this piece to breathe. His delivery is measured, controlled. But it is hard to connect other than intellectually with this flawed character. His pain is understood but not really felt. There is another gear this production could reach, and it may be worth having an outside eye cast over it – a director who is not also the author, perhaps.

Nonetheless, this is a strong piece of theatre and well worth the mental energy required of the audience. It certainly reminds us how compelling one-person shows can be.

Reviews by Sue Bevan

Dixon Place

The Unwritten Law

★★★★★
The Jazz Bar

Remembering Chet

★★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Have Fun

★★
theSpace on North Bridge

Angel: Take This Body

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Shame

★★★★
Freestival St Mary's

Alasdair Lists Everything

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A priest who has devoted his life to God fights daily against the temptations of the flesh. Now he must confront the man, or angel or demon, who haunts him. What happens to a man when he makes a vow of celibacy? Can he control his desires or do they control him? What must he do to destroy the passions that threaten his soul? ‘Proved exactly why one-man plays retain their place in the dramatic repertoire’ (EverythingTheatre.co.uk). ’Christopher Peacock delivers an engaging performance’ **** (What’sPeenSeen.co.uk).

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets