Usually, press nights at the National – even at the cavernous Olivier theatre – are packed to the rafters. But as this show was about to start, I noticed lots of empty seats dotted around nearby where I was sitting and also a whole raft of vacant seats right at the back. There was a whiff of foreboding in the air.
Damned by Despair
Cast includes Bertie Carvel Obsessed with his own salvation, the hermit Paulo dedicates himself to ten years of prayerful penance. When his faith wavers, the ever-watchful Devil seizes the moment to convince him that he shares the fate of one Enrico, a notorious Neapolitan gangster destined for damnation. Swearing vengeance, Paulo lashes out against God and assembles a band of rival outlaws. And yet, even as their villainous crimes escalate, the possibility of redemption hovers over the two men, perhaps within reach.