The Games


Spike Theatre
Zoo Roxy

It is to the credit of the company of The Games that they managed to overcome the obstacles to enjoyment thrown up by the venue. It was one of those very wet Edinburgh days and the audience clustered in the foyer only to be told by a real jobsworth member of staff that they had to line up outside, although "You can wait in the cafe downstairs but you'll be the last to be called." To their credit, most stayed put and eventually she allowed us to line up on the stairs. She then started to collect tickets and hand out programmes but seemed to get fed up part way through and wandered off with the programmes.

So I'm afraid I can't credit the cast or writer in this review. I did try to get a programme after the show but there were none around. Oh yes, and I was told that the lining up outside was because of "Health and Safety"!

The Games is a "lost play of Aristophanes" and is introduced by somewhat loony Professor of Classics, interrupted by a busybody stage manager who constantly tells the Prof how much longer he has left for this intro.

The play then starts. It is the time of the Olympic Games and the Gods decide to endow three no-hopers - dreadful poet Stanzas, runt of the litter Darius and Hermaphrodite, a woman - with the powers to win the pugilistic, chariot racing and pentathlon competitions respectively. As the Games are played in the nude, all three are also endowed with very realistic - and large - prosthetic penises, with Hermaphrodite having her breasts bound up (because of a cracked rib, she tells the others).

There's plenty of clowning, appallingly bad poetry and even worse puns from the cast of three, and it is very, very funny. Each actor plays a number of parts, each with very amusing exaggerated physicality, and they sweep us along with the silliness of it all.

Could Aristophanes have written it? Possibly, possibly....

Reviewer: Peter Lathan