ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE at Brisbane Festival
Presented by Flanagan Collective and Gobbleidgook Theatre in association with Brisbane Festival, Orpheus and Eurydice are two stand-alone works that re-tell an ancient Greek legend over two millennia old.
Contained in two hard-covered books which are each special to the performer and remind them of a time in their life when they too, like Eurydice and Orpheus, were overwhelmed with compassion, the story is told through poetic prose, toe-tapping original music with a sprinkle of Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper and spoken word. In this modern re-telling, Orpheus is referred to as Dave, a single man who spends most of his days drinking at the bar and Eurydice, an everyday superhero goddess Leni, both looking for love and acceptance.
A prequel to Orpheus, Eurydice gets very dark early into the show, exploring themes of betrayal, grief and heartbreak. Serena Manteghi, actor of Leni/Eurydice, and musician Casey Jay Andrews create an intimate performance that switches plays a dance between storytelling through song and spoken word. Despite technical issues and a guitar string popping off at the start of the performance, Andrews shows what a skilled performer she is by improvising around her lack of lyre with a voice that is filled with such emotion, warmth, and soul that I could listen to it all day, even if she was singing over-rated modern songs. The set is stripped down, the harmonies tug at your heartstrings and you cannot help but latch onto every word of these two generous storytellers.
Eurydice creates a contrasting ambiance to Orpheus, which is very humourous and light-hearted. Hand-written in a journal by playwright Alexander Wright on a train trip, the character of Dave is very approachable and relatable to the audience, building a stronger connection between the characters' and the audiences' worlds. Guitarist Phil Grainge bubbly nature is infectious as he addresses the audience, deliberately tearing apart the wall between the audience and the performer. The actor playing Orpheus, whose name is unfortunately not listed on the company's website, fills Dave's narrative with a kaleidoscope of colour and a rush of poetic imagery and metaphors.
These two works are examples of excellent storytelling with a narrative that transcends generations and reminds us to reflect on how we approach the world around us, especially in these troubled times.
Rating: 4 Stars
Orpheus and Eurydice
Written by Alexander Wright
Presented by Flanagan Collective and Gobbleidgook Theatre in association with Brisbane Festival
Winner Adelaide Theatre Award (weekly) 2018
Winner FRINGE WORLD Best Theatre Award (Weekly) 2019
Winner Best Pure Theatre Award (Sunday Mail) 2019
Winner City of Literature Beyond Words Award - Dunedin Fringe 2019
Winner Best in Fringe Award - Dunedin Fringe 2019