A must-see show in London - Homer!
There are several ways of getting a political message across in a stage production. You can go for the worthy, straight approach, such as is seen now in The Exonerated, or you can make it an exciting, entertaining evening so delightful that the audience swallows the polemical medicine with glee and sits begging for more.
The latter is the approach taken in David Farr's production of The Odyssey: A Trip Based on Homer's Epic at the Lyric Hammersmith. This is a magic realist Odyssey, set in part in the present day -- the gods deliver the great king Odysseus into the not-so-tender hands of a British immigration detention centre. There, to justify himself and his seeking asylum (although really all he wants is to go home), he has to tell his tale, which takes us on a cheerful romp through ancient myth and theatrical tradition, from the hippie island of the Lotus-Eaters, to the Indonesian shadow puppet-style of the seductress Circe, to the Dr Who style encounter with the lumbering giant Cyclops.
The word "trip" in the title is no accident, for this is a seductively psychedelic production. Sometimes this is direct: the intoxicating lotus flower produces in the immigration centre such gems as "the strip lights, they are wicked, man", but often this is wrapped into the insanity of everyday life. The inhabitants of the centre sing increasingly tall tales of the disasters that brought them there, such as "a giant fish took my sister away", before explaining the sad hyperbole, still in song, "no one believes me whatever I say..."
It is easy to keep piling on the adjectives of praise; for an evening of pure entertainment -- with added thought -- in London tonight, I can't think of anything to better it. The acting, the staging, the profusion of ideas and images, the changes of mood and balance of ideas, all come together in near-perfection. READ MORE