Achilles

Ewan Downie
Company of Wolves
Summerhall
to

On a stage, empty but for a large floor matting, Ewan Dounie sings of the wrath of Achilles, delving into the poetry of The Iliad and recounting the events from the demigod's sulking abandon of his comrades through to the fateful duel between him and Hector, Prince of Troy.

Told in alternating segments of prose, physical re-enactment and dirge-like song, Dounie breathes a quickening lungful into the ancient poem and hammers home the brutality of the slaughter and wilful hate seen upon the battlefield, his nimble slicing and dancing around the stage, contrasted to almost impossibly slow contortions, as he mimics the death throes of falling men whilst belting out an impassioned lament to their end.

It's a fierce and enlivening spectacle that is well performed and entertaining. However the dirges and death throes each feel like they go on just a little too long, each staying just outside a comfortable welcome and feeling somewhat indulgent.

This, combined with a slightly slow opening where Dounie's stillness and flat delivery belie the kineticism which is to follow, are a little too long. But yet, a good piece of physical theatre, which stakes out its ground and makes its point well enough.

Graeme Strachan