Oedipussy, Lyric Hammersmith 2.30 pm 14 April


Picture from another venue with different lighting

It’s not that this show was bad, I just found I was more interested in doing my washing.

At the beginning, the cast appeared in civilian dress to discuss a critical review of an earlier show by Joyce McMillan and say they were going to do it different this time, it wasn’t going to be safe. I think the joke is that they then did exactly the same kind of thing, a mildly-amusing skit that the audience thoroughly enjoyed.  It wasn’t a critique of Greek Tragedy from some fixed standpoint nor really the collision of two disparate worlds (there were a few scattered James Bond references).  Nor was it an incompetent troupe putting on Oedipus and being overwhelmed by their own disasters–the sections where the actors stepped out of character and addressed the audience about their personal problems were deeply boring.  So the afternoon proceeded amiably enough from gag to gag, and none of them had the surrealistic madness of Aristophanes or the erect phallus and bra over dress.  If you want to have something like a satyr play releasing the tension of tragedy, then you need to allow the tragedy and its sex, blood and guilt some space to develop.

I rather liked the depiction of the oracle as blind people holding giant eyeballs, as shown above.  But the narrator-with-a-column-on-his-head rapidly lost my interest.

As a final comment, people sitting in the front rows will find there are many opportunities for audience participation of various kinds.

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