Monday, 16 April 2012

Oedipussy - review

Written by: Pot (@DontForgetJames)

Where's Pot shot off to? 
Lyric Hammersmith
Was Pot hot? 

The old stories are the best stories, and Oedipussy at the Lyric shows us again why Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus (the original 'your mum' joke) has lasted for over 2000 years. Spinning off from the Mother-Son love affair of the classic tale, Spymonkey pump a motherlode of slapstick energy into the story, focusing on the point where comedy and tragedy meet. It's hard not to laugh at Jocastas’ (Petra Massey) realisation moment, or her brutal, twitching suicide, as her son/lover (Stephan Kreiss) pierces his own eyes. Massey shines and snares her audience with an understated humour. And for a woman that spends most of the show complaining about how she has hit middle age, is perhaps the best looking space vixen that I've ever seen.

The show begins with a message to Joyce McMillan, a reviewer who has been less than positive about Spymonkey in the past… and this feeling of tongue-in-cheek, middle-finger-waving naughtiness runs throughout the show. It's these moments that make the show, and what make Spymonkeys production of a situation difficult for most of us to empathise with, so accessible.

Perhaps at times the comedy sags. There are scenes, particularly the Oracle, which could have done with being a lot shorter, and admittedly some scenes feel a little under thought, and at times a little obvious. But there are some excellent staging techniques - the conjuring of a herd of sheep is inspired, managing to keep the energy bouncing along nicely.

Full credit to director Emma Rice; this show was a brave departure from the norm and one has to question why it hasn't been done before. The overall production could have done with a little more snappiness, and for the actors to not let themselves get carried away, which happened just a little too often. Oh, and the music could do with being turned down a little, please. I'm up for another show though… maybe Macbeth with the Golden Gun?

Photography: Johan Persson

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