Posts Tagged ‘orpheus and eurydice

15
Sep
17

Orpheus

 

Orpheus

Brisbane Festival & Datacom

The Tivoli

September 12 – 16 2017

 

Reviewed by Stephanie Fitz-Henry

 

 

What do you get when you cross a 1930s jazz music club in the middle of Paris with a tragic tale of Greek mythology? A delightfully whimsical and uniquely entertaining theatre experience that is sure to remain with you for a long time.

 

As I enter through the doors of The Tivoli for the Australian premiere of Little Bulb Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre’s production of Orpheus, it feels like walking through the clubs of 1930s Paris after midnight. The instantly recognisable French accordion melodies fill the space and set the tone for laissez-faire. French fashion adorns the floor. The staff and many of the guests have embraced the invitation to dress in feathered headbands, strings of pearls, pinstriped vests, braces and berets.

 

 

The allure of the Tivoli is intoxicating with the anticipation of a night of fun and frivolity, which intensified with the show starting almost half an hour behind schedule in true French style – not that anyone seems to notice. The main auditorium is set in true cabaret style where groups can enjoy table service. The rest of the audience is seated in rows around the periphery. The performers encourage the audience to move around the room and to enjoy the wine and French inspired food throughout the duration of the show.

 

 

From the moment this company steps onto the stage until the final curtain call, the show is peppered with a myriad of laugh-out-loud moments that carry us from one action to the next. The moments of hilarity will tickle the funny bone of even the most cynical of spectators.

 

The performers are so hilarious and tragic that you can’t help but laugh and cheer them on. It’s like watching a silent film of the same era. The music takes centre stage and steers the direction of the piece for the duration of the show. The intentional choreography of simplistic movement and gesture, and melodramatic facial expressions, is like watching Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and is just as hysterical. The cast are all highly trained musicians who play double bass (Clare Beresford), violin (Miriam Gould), accordion (Shamira Turner), Piano/Organ (Charlie Penn), clarinet (Alexander Scott), percussion (Tom Penn) and guitar (Dominic Conway), who are led by the very funny and Peron-esque qualities of Eugenie Pastor (flute/swanee whistle). They skilfully use their comedic talents, physicality and harmonious voices to entertain us. The acts, scenes and settings are projected onto the stage to guide our journey amid the amusing commotion. 

 

The marriage of Hades and Persephone receives loud applause when re-enacted by 2 male cast members.

 

There is beauty and power in simplicity and this is one reason this production is so good. Clever use of striking costumes, props, puppets and masks (Max Humphries & Cheryl Brown), stunning lighting (Michael Odam) and an emotive set design (Mary Drummond) enhances and envelops the show. The focus is on the detail; its specificity brings authenticity to every moment of this production and conveys the company’s professionalism. The cast doesn’t take themselves seriously and performs the roles with incredible generousity, earning 2 curtain calls and a standing ovation.

 

All the way from the UK for the Brisbane Festival, this fabulous production is totally exclusive to Brisbane audiences for two final performances on Saturday at 2pm & 7:30pm. Orpheus is not just a show – it is an all-encompassing experience. Turn off the television and forget about the footy. This is the most fun you can have in 3 hours at the theatre and the best value ticket in town at Brisbane’s most cherished venue.

 

 

The Company

Double Bass: Clare Beresford

Guitar: Dominic Conway 

Violin: Miriam Gould

Piano/Organ: Charlie Penn

Percussion: Tom Penn

Flute/Swanee Whistle: Eugenié  Pastor 

Clarinet: Alexander Scott

Accordion: Shamira Turner 

 

The Orpheus Team

Written and Devised by: The Company
Directed by: Alexander Scott
Designer (Set & Costume): Mary Drummond
Sound Designer: Ed Clarke
Lighting Designer: Michael Odam
Mask and Puppets: Max Humphries and Cheryl Brown
Scenic Artist: Rebecca Chan
Production Manager: Daniel Palmer
Sound No.1: Thomas Wasley
Company Stage Manager: Laura Hammond
Deputy Stage Manager: Laura Page
Tech Swing: Mitch Hargreaves
Tour Producer: Rosie Scudder
Little Bulb Producer: Fiona Baxter

In association with Farnham Maltings

 

The VAN DIJK 3

Jan Van Dijk: Violin
Miranda Deutsch: Guitar
Rick Caskey: Bass