The Odyssey, 4 Stars

The Odyssey
The Scoop
June to August 2017

“For 14 years now, Gods and Monsters Theatre have been bringing this project to The Scoop with one mission – to connect with communities who would not engage with the arts by providing free, accessible and entertaining theatre. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, education, financial means or physical ability.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

Looking around at the audience for The Odyssey Parts 1 and 2 it’s very clear that this grandiose goal has become a reality. Office workers, tourist families, children and Seniors all sitting and watching the performances. On a warm summer’s evening, with the shows starting at 6pm, why not go and see a free show!

With plenty of choice from the eat and drink concessions stands plus the usual assortment of food chains you can spend the night under the stars and enjoy how the stage lighting gradually becomes relevant as the sun goes down. Phil Supple is no stranger to this venue and returns as Lighting Designer.

The Cast are all wearing body mics and surprisingly the Simple Sound System works extremely well. When the mics are on it’s very clear what they’re saying. Adrian DeCosta and Rebecca Layoo having particularly clear diction in their performance.

The Set is remarkable! It’s on many different levels which in some ways reflect the stepped arrangement of the audience tiers. Director Phil Wilmott keeps the action dynamic – the Cast forever on the move climbing or descending between the levels. The amphitheatre itself has many entrances and exits and it’s interesting to watch the journeys of the Cast who are not centre stage as they make their way around the venue. This is so different from a standard theatre performance when within seconds and just a few steps you can be offstage and hidden. There is so much going on, you can see it all, even the children enjoyed this Greek tragedy!

With the grace of Rebecca Layoo, the charisma of Molly Crookes, the golden voice of Toyin Ayedun-Alase and the shirtless and very handsome Alec Porter this well rehearsed Cast take you on a theatrical journey. With 3 different shows every night and an Edwardian language for this translation (by Samuel Butler) it’s incredible how well they know their material. If you’ve ever studied any of Homer’s plays, whether  in Latin or an English translation, you might be forgiven for wondering why anyone would want to present this as an “introduction to theatre arts” – well this production speaks for itself! Producer Sofi Berenger has brought a production quality to this season that really works!

(Richard Lambert attended a Preview Performance of The Odyssey)