Skip to content

Review: ‘Lesser Demons’ a devilish delight — it would be a sin to skip this show

‘Lesser Demons’ runs until May 12 at Duncan United Church’s Heritage Hall
It would be a sin for theatre lovers to miss out on Mercury Player’s last show of their 2023/2024 season ‘Lesser Demons’. From back left: Sylvia (Mary Louise Phillips), David (John Close), Sloth (Callum Hughes), Abigail (Elizabeth Brimacombe), Sophie (Sylvia Swift), Morty (Layne Kriwoken), Hannah (Sarah Kate Knight), and Angela (Karmin Mutter) bring the words of Dorothy Dittrich’s clever gem to life. (Photo by Mony Vesseur)

Lesser Demons leaves audience members laughing, and reflecting a little more.

It was a packed house brimming with anticipation, and excitement for the opening night of Mercury Players’ last show of their 2023/2024 season inside Heritage Hall at Duncan United Church on May 2. While every show the Players put on is top notch it could be argued that with this season they saved the best for last, with this Mercury Players mic-drop.

READ MORE: Mercury Players delivers high spirited fun in ‘Lesser Demons’

Lesser Demons is a hell of a good time from start to finish. With a script oozing with clever writing that prompts uncontrollable laughter, and controlled contemplation it is no wonder that writer Dorothy Dittrich was awarded the Governor-General’s Award for Playwriting last month on April 19. Dittrich also took on the role of director, bringing her words, and the cast of eight who played their parts, to life.

The play opens in the abode of lesser demons Sylvia (Mary Louise Phillips) and Morty (Layne Kriwoken). Sylvia looks for ways to get a promotion from her current status while her partner Morty, who happens to be an Agent of Death, longs for the good old days. There is no shortage of magic with the mischievousness that these two cast members bring to the stage. Sylvia discovers what she thinks is a loophole when she stumbles upon a familiar and creative old soul who now goes by the name Hannah (Sarah Kate Knight) and is convinced that if she can recruit this mortal, only good can come from it.

Through a terrific set design and some technology, playgoers are seamlessly transported from one backdrop to another. Hannah and David (John Close) find themselves lost as a romantic, and relationship mending getaway to the one of the Gulf Islands goes awry, and it can be argued that it is not just in their immediate surroundings that the couple are lost. After the two have a tiff, Sylvia places herself and Morty in Hannah’s path to lure her into a contract.

Things get even more interesting when Sylvia recruits two temps, or rather sins in training, Abigail (Elizabeth Brimacombe) and Angela (Karmin Mutter) to help her with her dirty work. Angela is given the task of playing house maid, but what she serves up best is side-splitting snickers with her snippiness, while Abigail pretends to be one of Sylvia’s successful clients. Sylvia’s angel sister Sophie (Sylvia Swift) also shows up for a visit, and time just seems to stand still when she’s around. Rounding off the cast is Sloth played by Callum Hughes and watching his transformation is a diverting delight.

Unfortunate and untimely circumstances turn up the heat for the characters, and through their journey audience members are invited to reflect on what creatively speaks to them, as a gentle nudge reminds us to follow our hearts and passions. While the lesser demons, and the sins in training seem to steal the show, performances from the entire cast will have you laughing your pointed tail off. Knight and Close are terrific as they effortlessly draw us into the comedic wins and woes of a long-time relationship, Swift and Phillips share some humorous moments of sibling rivalry, and the bond that Morty and Sloth slowly form is comedy in bloom. Phillips and Kriwoken are both comedic forces to be reckoned with in this production.

Kudos must be given to all those who worked diligently behind the scenes including costume designer Mony Vesseur and both Dittrich and Swift for the designing of the set, stage manager Thomas Przywara and the dedicated souls who were on cue with lights, and sound.

There are plenty of fun surprises in this show that touches on love, forgiveness, creativity as well as some of our inner demons, but there will be no more spoilers from me. It would be a sin for true-blue theatre lovers to miss out on this witty and well-executed production.

There will be 7:30 performances on May 9, and 10 with 2:30 p.m. matinees on May 11, and 12. Tickets are $25 or $22 for seniors, and are available to purchase at either Ten Old Books in Duncan or online at