Never would you think the tragic tale of Oedipus could end up being two hours of hysterical nonsense that leave your sides hurting. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when the four cast members took to the stage, mentioning that they were about to prove a critic who gave them a bad review wrong by retelling the tale of Oedipus. Straight away the audience were plunged into a Bond-like song number (with loincloths, dry ice and a man posing with a laser gun) and utter chaos. This fast paced show never drags and is brilliant throughout – the only time I had a breather from laughing was the interval!
The actors stood out individually for their own special reasons: Toby Park talked about his woes – not only being a performer and the managing artistic director of the show, but also coming from a high achieving family, about which he shouted “It’s not f***ing funny!” while dressed like David Bowie. Then you had the comedy gold of Aitor Basauri and his impressive costume changes and characters – including three singing lepers – that left me cackling. Petra Massey’s Jocasta was hilarious, as well as her sphinx and her inner monologues about her foot problems and eyesight. Finally, we had 50-year-old Stephan Kreiss who played 17-year-old Oedipus who frolicked about the stage and broke the set twice. All together these four performers kept the energy going throughout and, despite their demanding roles, they got better and better as the play carried on.
Inspired by the infamous Bond themes, the music composed by Park and Neil Filby has catchy lines and side splitting lyrics. Lucy Bradridge’s elaborate costumes were gorgeous and clever, especially the shepherd’s cape which appeared to have a herd of sheep attached to them. The set, designed by Michael Vale, was simple, however it had its secrets and was involved fully in the production as the actors were, with parts of it breaking and the actors running into it more than a few times.
Overall, this production, written by Carl Grose and the company, was an unforgettable experience that I would love to see again. Emma Rice’s direction was spectacular, and it was obvious that this company are passionate and love what they do. It’s not every day you come across a show like this – packed with jokes and surprises that’ll leave you crying with laughter in your seat, Oedipussy is the perfect night out if you’re up for a bit of fun.
Oedipussy is playing at the Rose Theatre until the 19 October. For more information and tickets, see the Rose Theatre website.