Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Sins of Jack Saul review at Above the Stag, London – ‘energetic and entertaining’

The cast of The Sins of Jack Saul at Above the Stag, London. The cast of The Sins of Jack Saul at Above the Stag, London.
by -

Taggart creator Glenn Chandler has already demonstrated an interest in Victorian gay history through his musicals Cleveland Street and Fanny and Stella – The Shocking True Story. For his third foray into the genre, Chandler looks at the story of Jack Saul, a popular rent-boy of the era, who was embroiled in several notorious scandals.

Whereas the previous pieces had a straightforward linear structure, The Sins Of Jack Saul uses purgatory as its narrative framework. The recently deceased ‘Dublin Jack’ must prove to the Devil that his soul is worth saving, with a single instance of altruism from his infamously corrupt life.

Chandler’s witty book highlights the historical injustices that criminalised gay men as well as the class divide that protected the wealthy and well-connected. David Shields’ costume design has a quirky, contemporary vibe that echoes the queer sensibilities of the piece and Charles Miller’s score veers confidently between Irish folk ballads and effervescent music hall.

Steven Dexter’s equally assured direction maintains a sardonic tone, which is embraced by the company, resulting in theatre that’s both enlightening and entertaining. Jack McCann delivers an impressive debut in the title role but it’s really the versatile ensemble that bring energy and character to Jack’s story.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Energetic and entertaining take on a salacious slice of queer history