Benji makes theatre the devil’s own work

Benji Reid
Benji Reid
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HIP hop and theatre pioneer Benji Reid (right) and his Manchester-based company Breaking Cycles take their hard-hitting show The Devil Has Quentin’s Heart to Lancaster University’s Nuffield Theatre tomorrow.

Inspired by Ray Shell’s acclaimed novel Iced, and featuring Reid in the eponymous role, The Devil Has Quentin’s Heart introduces the audience to the netherworld of Quentin Forrest – a top New York stockbroker who has fallen from grace into uncertain times and a disturbing existence.

Quentin gave his heart to the devil, so he could enjoy a charmed lifestyle as an ultra-successful trader on Wall Street.

Betrayed, then framed for fraud, he discovers life in the underbelly of New York as an alcoholic living on the streets.

This story is told on his last day, in his last hour, before Satan comes banging at the door.

“Quentin is fundamentally flawed, as he believes success will solve matters of the heart becoming a victim of his own appetite,” says Reid. “Power is easy to gain, but hard to give up and this piece pinpoints the fragility of human nature.”

With film noir lighting design and themes including material success, aspiration, addiction, homelessness and mental collapse, the work is an intense Faustian tale for our times – incorporating performance, storytelling and dance theatre.

Reid is one of the original hip hop dance and theatre pioneers in the UK, working with Soul II Soul back in the day and appearing in the US on Soul Train as a dancer. He trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and is originally from Manchester, where he is legendary in his field.

Over the years, he has been better known for his directing and physical theatre productions and has toured internationally, earning a coveted NESTA Fellowship and forming Breaking Cycles, his Manchester-based company.

Ticket details, (01524) 594151.