Ovid’s Metamorphoses set the famous stories in the second world war. This was inspired in a number of places, including sirens replacing Sirens, Narcissus/Echo as silent film star and cinema usherette, or Daedalus being a war planner and Icarus an RAF pilot. There were some very inventive use of flats and costume, and my only disappointment was the very ending which seemed a bit tacked on. Overall, a really great retelling of the myths with excellent acting, music, and staging.

Odyssey was a one man production placed under “dance and physical theatre” in the Fringe programme. I don’t really understand the latter half of this category – sure, this had lots of physical actions, but was basically some lovely storytelling, summing up the whole thing (apart from the very ending, which I have on good authority is a bit bobbins and of possible non-Homeric origin) in just over an hour, with appropriate actions for each character, and for describing what was happening. (I’d have just put it under theatre, personally.)

Caroline Mabey told us about breakfast, the evil meal of the day trying to oust all the other meals (and with an aside of the confusion of the Dinner raincloud, much appreciated by us northerners). I was made toastmaster (though I failed), many, many lettuce were read out, and a good time (and bad puns) was had by all.

When in Rome was completely, as billed, Glee in togas. The music choices seemed a little odd in places, but they were all performed with gusto, although the band did drown out the voices during the loud numbers – luckily we were sat near the front. Classicists beginning to get annoyed at the reference to Christianity in the time of Augustus were dealt with a couple of sentences later, by the slave character who seemed to be slightly aware of the world he was in. I particularly liked the activity going on in the background of various scenes, which was clearly well thought out and executed.

In contrast, Persephone: The Musical had the smallest audience yet, showing yet again as Stewart Lee has said, people want what they’re familiar with over what they might not be. It was just as, if not more, enjoyable, with excellent singing and music, telling the story of Hades, Persephone, Demeter – and a guy named Trip who I didn’t recall from the myth. I can see why a musical needs a hero character more readily than a Mount Olympus conference telling Hades to stop it, but why name him Trip? Anyway, the music brought to mind Einaudi in places, and was played by the composer on stage, and all the singers brought appropriate energy to their parts; this certainly deserved to be seen by more people.

Lastly, we had Richard Herring – Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming. My first moment of the fringe where I was about to beg someone to stop as I was passing out from being unable to breath due to laughing, the only problem with that happening being the rest of the set afterwards seems somewhat of a disappointment by comparison (it wasn’t). Excellent (well, from Richard’s point of view on his blog, “satisfactory” 😉 ).

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2 Responses to Classics

  1. says:

    Thanks for the review. Despite having an Atticus, Athene and Troy in my daughter’s class, Triptolemus hasn’t cut it – yet as a popular classical name. Triptolemus is a mythical character associated with Demeter and associated with the bestowal of hope for the afterlife. As a name it doesn’t roll easily off even the most malleable musical tongues so I shortened it to Trip. In some versions of the myth the swineherd Triptolemus witnessed the abduction of Persephone by Hades (one of his pigs falls down with Persephone). Trip as a love interest is a diversion from the Beauty the Beast, Stockholm Syndrome explanations for why Persephone seems quite complacent with her destiny in the “real myth”. Most importantly, we’re glad you enjoyed our showcase performance.

  2. Matthew says:

    That’s really interesting, thanks for letting me know – my knowledge of Greek myth is quite superficial and based mostly on Usborne’s book of Greek and Norse Legends I had as a kid 🙂

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