The creators adapted the many trials of Odysseus, Telemachus, and Penelope with clear reverence for the source material, but also with a sense of play and anachronistic flair. While the story and visuals mostly reflect those of Ancient Greece, Telemachus takes a soul-searching journey on his motorcycle, while Penelope’s suitors are all wolves in immaculate modern day suits getting drunk on champagne. The monsters in this production have real weight, and the puppeteers do a great job creating a sense of danger. Odysseus has to deal with the despondent giantess Calypso, the terrifying jagged cyclops, and even the great god Neptune himself. There are plenty of tender moments as well, such as in a flashback of Odysseus and Penelope sharing an embrace before he leaves for the Trojan war, to their fated reunion a decade later. The battle against the suitors towards the end of the show was poetry in motion.
The immersion I felt while watching the show could not have been achieved without its immaculate music, composed by Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie, Quinta and Matthew Brown (you can listen to and purchase the soundtrack on bandcamp here). The combination of piano, violin, guitar, electronic keyboard and clever use of the saw, lend themselves perfectly to the visuals appearing on screen. From the cheerful ‘Rosy-Fingered Dawn,’ to the sleazy track ‘The Suitors’ reflecting the mooching wolfish layabouts sniffing at Penelope’s heels, the soundtrack is evocative of the deep emotions of a husband and wife separated by a decade, and the series of travails hampering their reunion. Foley work is used to great effect for sounds such as the waves, and the low rumble of a sleeping cyclops.
This is a show not to be missed. It is currently touring across the UK and Germany.