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Orpheus and Eurydice
Published on Saturday, 13 August 2011

3 stars

C Venues - C eca (venue website)
3-16 Aug, 10:55pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Orpheus’s journey to the underworld to rescue lost love Eurydice, after she dies from a snake bite, is quite a well-known classic. And it has enough echoes in modern tales that aspects of it are bound to feel familiar. This sweet adaptation updates things a little, recasting the pair as modern day folk musicians, with Orpheus’s lyre as an acoustic guitar.

The overall effect is quite charming. Orpheus and Eurydice are a pretty pair, and they both serenade us with songs of love and loss. Eurydice has the flashier part, impressively also playing Queen of the Underworld, Persephone, and a show-stealing gum-snapping Californian valley-girl incarnation of Charon the ferryman.

However, for a story about a journey into hell, the mood stayed surprisingly light. There was very little contrast between the pastoral idyll Orpheus and Eurydice frolic in at the start, and hell itself; which led to a lack of any real jeopardy for the lovelorn pair. Hell just doesn’t seem that bad, really. Even Orpheus’s confrontation with Persephone, where he brings up her own abduction to be the bride of Hades, did nothing to darken the mood.

Overall, the descent into the underworld seemed more like a day at a mildly disappointing theme park. Which is a shame – because otherwise, this is a nicely performed, simply staged piece, which soothes us with sweet music. How appropriate.

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