Bertolt Brecht's first play, Baal charts the decline of a drunken and dissolute poet, Baal, who rejects the conventions and trappings of bourgeois society. The play celebrates the cult of the genius living outside the conventions of society that would later destroy him. Baal roams the countryside, womanizing and brawling. He seduces Johanna, who subsequently drowns herself. He spurns his pregnant mistress Sophie and abandons her. He murders his friend Ekart, becoming a fugitive from the police. Defiantly aloof from the consequences of his actions, Baal is nonetheless brought low by his debauchery, dying alone in a forest hut, hunted and deserted, and leaving in his wake the corpses of deflowered maidens and murdered friends.
Director, Neil Sheppeck, employs live onstage filming and contemporary dress to draw paralells with the media's pressure on celebrity, where genius is destroyed.
"Director Neil Sheppeck's version of La Ronde has nothing to do with fin-de-siecle Vienna and the waltz but everything to do with now, heat and the tango ... a highly charged modern version of a once-dangerous play that returns some of that danger to it." Victor Hallett, The Stage
"the bench mark for all successful productions must be the sequence when the creature is brought to life? This is one of the plays most successful scenes, strobe lighting conveys the white-hot brilliance of an electrical storm and the trellised window through which Victor Frankenstein peers (suggesting he is imprisoned by his own vistas) throws up a barred silhouette on the wall which references such contemporary scientific devices as the Lightning Cage." Daniel Jeffreys, The Times
"I can hardly recall seeing a production that made more sense of Iago's final, stubborn lapse into silence, the silence of those who avoid communication or argument because they know it can only corrode a false core belief that has become essential to their identity. For pace, drama, and power to hold the audience's attention for a compelling hour and three quarters, this Othello is hard to fault." Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
Neil Sheppeck is the founder and Artistic Director of Love&Madness. Directing credits include: The Taming of the Shrew, The Butterfly's Evil Spell, Macbeth, Sweetness Follows, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Playboy of the Western World, Frankenstein, Mirror Magic Market Tales, La Ronde, In Lambeth and A Taste of Honey.
Acting credits include: Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Hard Times, Twelfth Night, Wuthering Heights, Henry V, The Tempest, Frankenstein and Only When I Laugh! for Love&Madness. Much Ado About Nothing (Northern Broadsides), Guards! Guards! (Fleighton), Softcops and Grace (Finborough). Film credits include Rumplestiltskin, The Run, and Naked in London.
His first play Sweetness Follows ('Sheppeck has written a truly shocking drama about love' - British Theatre Guide) was presented by Love&Madness at The Edinburgh Festival in 2002. Other plays include Two Noblemen of Norfolk, and adaptations of Schnitzler's La Ronde and Dostoyevsky's The Gambler.