Taking my seat, I wondered idly were we here to see The Infernal Comedy the play, or ‘John Malkovich’ the man? The promoters seemed to know their market from the outset. Posters emblazoned with Malkovich’s quizzical, brooding stare had dotted Brussels since early Spring, proclaiming his appearance at the BOZAR theatre. The actual performance seemed secondary to the fact that the man with the voice was coming to town.Bathed in a soft orange glow the orchestra opens centre stage, but the discordant tones of Gluck’s musical interpretation of Don Juan’s Descent into Hell reminds us that this is no mere evening of chamber music. As silence descends....Enter Malkovich stage right. Audience applause. Separating from reality was at first haphazard. He compares Brussels theatres, talks about the curse of being called John, Johannes, Jack, Jacques... We're all following Malkovich, he's playing Unterweger...we're thinking John Malkovich, he's meaning Jack Unterweger.
The full title, 'The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer' held all the promise of the darker roles that Malkovich cultivates. His best-known film roles are renegade characters that repel and attract in equal measure. So bringing Austrian serial killer-turned-celebrity author-turned serial killer, John Unterweger, (back) to life seemed a good fit.