Press for Dillon in Berkoff's Hell

In turns funny, harrowing real and surreal, this daring performance is nothing short of brilliant.



Steven Berkoff's close collaborator and ardent disciple, George Dillon, demonstrates his sensitive and intelligent understanding of his mentor's work in this provocative performance, and in the process, powerfully reminds us of the technical control, range and intensity that mark him out as one of the most distinctive and challenging solo performers around. Dillon combines the precision and timing of the practised story-teller with the physical expressiveness of the accomplished actor, to expose a rich mixture of humour, anger, futility and human sadness. He immerses himself in his material and suffers. Dillon brings measured delivery, carefully stylised visual imagery and above all the degree of physical and emotional vulnerability needed to translate powerful prose into disturbing, dangerous theatre.



It can't be denied that he's a superb performer, controlling his physical expression expertly to match the mood of each monologue. Dillon bobs, weaves and explodes about the stage, in a dazzling performance.



One performance that had it all. One minute Dillon shrivels up into a snarling, flailing embodiment of failure, the next minute he preens himself with the memory of a review in a local paper. This is rapid, biting, fifth-gear performance.



There's a definite buzz in the sell-out crowd for the opening of a new Berkoff by one of the most-praised solo performers of recent Fringes. If you thought Berkoff was all arch bombast, then try this mesmeric wade through the quagmires of despair. From its monotone opening to its killer final line, it's both unique and fascinating. Not cheery but definitely chunky.



George Dillon, one-man wunderkind and spiritual son of Steven Berkoff, is showing up the opposition in his adaptations from Berkoff's short stories, visions of T S Eliot's Wasteland for our times. These little playlets are what our age can muster in the way of tragedy. George Dillon presents these works with verve and fervour. He is as mobile as protoplasm, flowing into the shapes and characters of bed-sit land in an extraordinary display of energy and control. He sits, practically motionless, tinged with red light, like a bloodied version of Rodin's The Thinker, and takes us on a journey into a personal inferno, just as bleak and affecting as anything Dante has to offer.



One cannot be unaffected by Dillon's virtuoso performance in this world premiere of Berkoff's monologues. It is a tour de force in which the actor and his material become one and the fusion of life and theatre is complete.



Thorough, talented, amusing, provocative, soul-searching, this triple bill must be seen. Dillon is, we are told, an actor with "no formal training"; a genius.



These three stories by Steven Berkoff are narrated by someone it is tempting to see as his shadow self. Dillon brings a certain verve and inventiveness to Harry's histrionic fantasies, but his forte is a vulnerability we have not seen or suspected in his author. Self-pitying, maudlin stuff? It could and perhaps should have been. But in his gentle, doleful way Dillon manages to summon up something as improbable as, let's say, a garrulous Pinter or a hale and hearty Simon Gray: the Beckett in Berkoff.



These three short tales make for a miserable yet marvellous evening. Dillon's performance in all three pieces is extraordinary. He is raucous, humourous, pitiful and exceptionally tender. Dillon opens up a chasm in the human experience, then stands at its bottom and screams. Seeming at times like a comic impersonator, he moves through a series of grotesque voices before suddenly hitting you with the force of his acting. All the anguish of the most harrowing performance is distilled into the lives of these little people. The stage is empty, the subject matter almost banal, so there is nothing but the force of Dillon's performance to carry you through. He does not disappoint. Here is a performance though which cannot be too highly recommended.

George Dillon's Tour Dates

(as of Tuesday, 07 April 2020)

Show              Date                     TOWN, Venue               
{Printed from on Tue, 07 Apr, 2020 @ 05:36:55}