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March 23, 2017
23 Mar 2017

Reviews Are In: Paradise Lost is a Hit!


Reviewed by Paul Birchall


J-Walt Adamczyck, Zack Davidson and Marguerite French in Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny at Greenway Court Theatre (Photo by Anthony Roldan)

You don’t need to brush up on your Milton to enjoy this splendid adaptation of his great epic Paradise Lost, which tells the story of Satan’s consignment to Hell and Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden. Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, creator of this gorgeous and dynamic shindig, has crafted the work into a ballet, with Cirque Du Soleil-like acrobatic undercurrents.  But while Paradise Lost has been set to dance before, Talmadge’s production melds technology into the mix, balancing the movement with adroit video images, which are controlled by handheld joysticks held by the dancers while they dance. The result of all this is a production that feels entirely original and creative — but still packs the emotional impact of its source material, rendered with sincerity and total commitment.

The play starts in Heaven, where a Father God (J-Walt Adamczyk, who also designed the stunning videography) and a Mother God (Marguerite French) wave their computer mice and create a universe which explodes on the white screen behind them in bursts of stylized color. They also create a giant band of gymnastically agile angels, as well as a handsome and beloved Son (Zachary Reeve Davidson) who is allowed to manipulate the holy mouse of creation, just like his parents.

One single angel (Talmadge) becomes jealous of the Son and tries to seize his creative power. This angel’s pride, which leads to his eviction from Heaven, not only turns him into the Satan we know and hate, but also creates the vile forces of Sin (Laura Covelli) and Death (James Bane). Simmering in the Hellish world they’ve made for themselves, the Demonic Crew (joined by some wicked angels also tossed from Heaven) scheme to regain their former power by corrupting the newly created Adam (Leslie Charles Roy Jr.) and Eve (Alina Bolshakova). Chaos, quite literally, ensues.

Collaborating with several ensemble members on the choreography, Talmadge crafts a production that crackles with energy and liveliness, imaginatively employing both acrobatics and ballet to tell this time-honored story in strikingly innovative ways. When his Satan plummets from Heaven to Hell, the moment becomes a staggeringly powerful gymnastic act that utilizes chains and spins — during which Talmadge elegantly conveys the agony of the drop as well as the distance his character is traveling. Later, as Adam and Eve are gradually corrupted by Satan’s wiles, Death and Sin come dancing on, dressed as a perfect couple from 1950s Americana, except they start to beat and rape each other — behavior which imprints on Adam and Eve as they eat the Sinful Apple.

The movement is enhanced by Adamczyk’s artful computer generated video images, which virtually become characters themselves. There’s something magical about the way the performers stretch out their arms and whole worlds bloom on the screen behind them, as if from the dancers’ fingertips. Credited co-composers Alysia Michelle James and Bernie Sirelson’s electronic score, which accompanies the various tableaux and computer imagery, is suitably hymn-like, and creates a church ambiance.

It would be quite easy for this material to come across as evangelical or overly mawkish, but the ensemble hit just the right note as they explore Milton’s notions of the genesis of evil from pride and envy. First rate performances are offered by all, but Talmadge’s evolution from an angelic to a leering Satan is particularly compelling — and so are Adamczyk and French as Ma and Pa God (though it may be best not to ask why God is a couple).

Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles; Fri.- Sat., 8 p.m; Sun., 7 p.m.; through April 2. (323) 673-0544 or www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/paradiselost. Running time: 70 minutes.


January 30, 2017
30 Jan 2017

Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny

Greenway Arts Alliance and Not Man Apart present


OPENS: March 10, 2017

*Due to unforeseen circumstances (an act of God???) opening night has been pushed from March 3 to March 10.*

CLOSES: April 2, 2017
TIMES: Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm

Friday & Saturday at 8pm
$30 General Admission

$20 Senior with ID
$15 Military & Student with ID
Sunday at 7pm
$20 General Admission & Senior

$15 Military & Student with ID

Buy Tickets

Creative Team
Producer/Director: Jones Welsh Talmadge

Producer/ Co-Director: Laura Covelli

Producers: Aaron Hendry, Zachary Reeve Davidson

Head Choreographer: Jones Welsh Talmadge

Choreographers: Anne-Marie Talmadge, Alina Bolshakova, Charles Roy

Visual Effects: J-Walt Adamczyk

Video Visual Effects: Hannah Beavers

Lighting Designer: John Bass

Wardrobe: Ashphord Jacoway

Sound Effects & Compilation: Bernie Sirelson

Composers: Elisa Rosin, Alysia Michelle James, Bernie Sirelson

Technical Director / Stage Manager: Niki Armato

Greenway Producing Director: Tiffany Moon

Greenway Artistic Directors: Whitney Weston & Pierson Blaetz


J-Walt Adamczyk, James Bane,  Alina Bolshkova, Laura Covelli, Zachary Reeve Davidson, Marguerite French, Alexander Garland, Kendall Johnson, Janine Montag, Moses Norton, Elisa Rosin, Charles Roy, Anne-Marie Talmadge, Jones Welsh Talmadge,


Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble and Greenway Arts Alliance present a movement adaptation of John Milton’s eloquent epic poem: Paradise Lost. The innovative vision adapted by NMA Co-Artistic Director Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, Co-directed with NMA Co-Artistic Director Laura Covelli, blends dance, acrobatics, dynamic partnering and Not Man Apart’s unique brand of physical storytelling, to relate a version of this iconic tale of Adam and Eve’s Temptation and the War in Heaven.

This production features bodies flying across the stage on harness and chains, augmented by the stunning digital animation effects of J-Walt Adamczyk and video installation artist Hannah Beavers. While the performance ensemble battles as angels and demons, powerful visual images of the creation of the universe and the Garden of Eden will be projected live on stage to weave an emotional tale surrounded by evocative original music and costumes.

NMA’s retelling of the fall of humanity includes a modern feminist twist. Whether you are familiar with the story of Paradise Lost, or not at all, and regardless of your belief system, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny seeks a new perspective on the future of humanity, and to empower audiences to fully claim a created destiny and connection to the whole. It’s up to us. We get to create a Heaven on Earth.