INTERVIEW: The Devil Danced In Our Eyes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Writer and performer Jonluke McKie is on a journey of discovery with his new one-person show The Devil Danced In Our Eyes. He’s setting aside his familiar role as a theatre director and taking to the stage for this “half gig/half play”, as he describes it. It’s his story, you see – not entirely autobiographical, but inspired by real events. “I wanted to perform and explore my own story as a young gay teenager exploring my sexuality online which overall was a really positive experience.”

Finding it nerve-wracking at times, Jonluke knows he’s in good hands with director Amy Golding and co-writer Allison Davies alongside a really great experienced team, and describes the experience as “liberating to let the director role go and just be the performer.” He’s come a long way to find the confidence to move from doing a lot of music secretly in his bedroom to performing his own original live music on stage, encouraged by others along the way to share his talent with the world. And so he’s combining the escapism of narrative theatre with the very immediate, live, personal experience of a singer-songwriter gig. With acoustic guitar, vocals and loop pedal, Jonluke hopes to create a personal connection with his audience as he produces soundscapes and musical score live as a background to his funny and moving story.

This play is an emotional, entertaining, enjoyable night out, a safe space to confront some of the things that happened to me and to say things out loud that I’d never said before

The story centres around 15-year-old Jamie, who’s left to his own devices to scroll through the digital realm including the occasional adult chatroom, when his grandad dies and his mum stops coming out of her room. Exploring sexuality and the effects of mental illness on a family, this multi-layered show blends humour with more serious themes, as Jonluke explains: “Trust me, there’s always humour in exploring sexuality and the characters are funny, complex and multi-faceted. This play is an emotional, entertaining, enjoyable night out, a safe space to confront some of the things that happened to me and to say things out loud that I’d never said before.” As a recent dad, Jonluke sees the world and indeed the play differently now, recognising there’s a fine line between not allowing your kids to explore their identity on the internet, which is an important outlet for many queer young people, and exposing them to the dangers and risks online. And so we follow Jamie during an important year of his life, as he comes to understand a culture that he was a part of but he didn’t know anything about, with the visually exciting and striking backdrop of live animation from AV specialist and VJ Simon Cole.

The play will tour pubs, libraries and theatres, and Jonluke is hoping to reach different audiences and is keen to experiment with what happens when he goes to more unusual places. “The stories I tell often explore class. I’ve tried to get those audiences into theatres and now I’m seeing what happens when we go out to them.”

The Devil Danced In Our Eyes is performed at Alnwick Playhouse (30th Nov & 1st Dec), The Exchange in North Shields (2nd Dec), Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham (3rd Dec), Central Bar in Gateshead (7th Dec), Gosforth Civic Theatre (8th Dec), Middlesbrough Town Hall (8th Feb), Gala Theatre Durham (11th Feb), Blyth Library (15th Feb), Cramlington Library (16th Feb) and Live Theatre, Newcastle (17th & 18th Feb).


The Devil Danced in Our Eyes Trailer 480 from Jonluke McKie on Vimeo.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout