Mephistopheles Smith ("The Evangelist For Hell") is a demon character created by Richard O'Brien who premiered at the Transylvania 1992 convention in London. The character was developed into part of the larger Disgracefully Yours stage show with the additions of "Brother Michael" and backup singers "The Frockettes". The overall premise of the show was that the demon Mephistopheles Smith had come up from the underworld to try and sell Hell to the masses as the afterlife experience of choice for them when they die.
Disgracefully Yours played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1995 followed by a 1996 run of twenty one performances at the Comedy Theatre in London as well as one week of shows at The Bottom Line in New York City. The shows involved a lot of improvisation and interaction with the audiences, such as the fact that photography was not only allowed but encouraged so that Mephistopheles Smith could pose for photos on-stage periodically. The show as a whole was basically a vehicle for Richard O'Brien to sing songs, tell jokes and anecdotes, and perform a bit of a stand-up comedy through the character of Mephistopheles. Unfortunately he was forced to stop performing it: "I'm afraid that the cloven hooves I wore for two hours on stage crippled my feet and, due to pressure on the balls of my feet (check your reflexology books), I created chest infections which were unbearable."
The show slept for a decade, until permission was given to the Kansas City Fringe Festival to present a revival of Disgracefully Yours in 2006. Not long after, the Janus Theatre Company announced that they had been given permission to re-work and perform the show in 2007: "Janus Theatre aims to merge non-professional and professional actors and crew. For this production we'll have a fully professional main cast with a non professional gospel type choir at some of the venues. All the songs will be totally re-recorded, so it should sound awesome! We've added some new topical jokes and plan to incorporate an extra song that all Richard fans should recognise." That 'extra song' turned out to be Anyhow, Anyhow from Shock Treatment, with a Denton, USA chorus added and lyrics adapted changing the location to Brighton, UK where the show was first performed.
This CD-R single was sold only in person at the shows in the U.K, as a six track limited edition. Only five tracks are shown in the track listing here, because "Must Be Mephistopheles Smith" and "Disgracefully Yours" are actually one long track on the CD. The cast had to go into the recording studio to record all the songs as backing tracks for the live performances and apparently had just enough time to record vocals also for the six tracks featured here. We continue to hope for a legitimate recording of the full Mephistopheles Smith show.
UK ©2007 Janus Theatre Company
CD-R maxi-single, sold only at the theatre.
Total running time: 16:49
Who the hell wants to go to heaven
...when there's a hot time down below!
Follow the cloven hooves...
Music & Lyrics - Richard O'Brien
Mephistopheles Smith - Tim Driesen
Devilettes - Lindsey Lauer & Claire Huckle
Director & Choreographer - Laura Kriefman
Musical Director & Keys - Niall Bailey
Lead guitar - Andrew Tudor
Bass guitar - Mike Taylor
Drums - Cem Andre Oezsen
Saxophone - James Erber
Transcriber - David Beer
Photographer - Nathaniel Renouf
CD Recording Engineer - Ali Edwards
Recorded at Sniff n Break Studios, Farnham, Surrey
All music rights held by Richard O'Brien
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