Odyssey

Theatre Ad Infinitum

Pleasance Dome

From 02 August 2017 to 28 August 2017

Rating: *****

Review by David Chadderton

This year celebrating its tenth anniversary, Theatre Ad Infinitum has revived two of its most popular shows for this year's Edinburgh Fringe: Translunar Paradise at Pleasance Courtyard and Odyssey at the Pleasance Dome.

This is the Odyssey of Homer, told in just over an hour by a single actor. It begins when Odysseus has been away from his wife Penelope and son Telemachus for 19 years since he left to fight in the Trojan Wars. He is stranded on an island with the nymph Calypso until the gods force her to release him, but one god, Poseidon, has it in for him.

Eventually, he is washed up on an island (with Athena's help) and gets to tell his story as he pleads for a ship to take him home, which takes us back even further to the wars themselves, encountering the Cyclops Polyphemus and Circe, travelling into the land of the dead to speak to Tiresias—where he also met his mother, not knowing she was dead—and finally ending up with Calypso.

On arriving home, his adventures are not over as his wife is plagued by suitors who wish to have Odysseus declared dead so she can marry one of them. The story comes to a rather bloody end, as you would expect from Greek mythology.

At the centre of this production is a remarkable physical and vocal performance from George Mann, who narrates the whole tale as well as very clearly playing every male and female character quite distinctly, painting vividly every scene with words and mime and even filling in some sound effects to complete the picture.

I saw the last performance at this year's Edinburgh Fringe, but this is definitely a show to watch out for.