Oedipus Schmoedipus | Intimate Spectacle

Oedipus Schmoedipus | Intimate SpectaclePhotos – Rob Maccoll

Blood, as Stoppard's tragedian says, is compulsory.

The auditorium at the Playhouse goes dark for a moment before the curtain shoots into the fly tower and two women wearing white are flooded with blinding white light in front of a white backdrop and a white stage. The audience gasps as their eyes react to the onslaught and giggle a little while they wait for something to happen.

In the moments that follow, these two women commit suicide nine times, and homicide at approximately the same rate. It is gory and funny and raw and engaging. And then the action stops while the stage is mopped. Despite the humour in even this ritual, the length of time required for the stage to be safe again destroys the established engagement, and when the two women return, still in white but now white stained with red blood spatters and carrying microphones instead of weapons, the energy has gone, and they don't quite manage to restore it.

They explain, as does the promotional material, that the show is about death. Not grieving or celebrating death, but about experiencing death and how the canon of theatre has portrayed it.

These performers and more-local-actors-than-I-managed-to-count deliver many noteworthy moments, drawing on classical theatre texts and modern cultural references. Some are pure slapstick, some more cerebral, and many are strangely haunting. But it doesn't really increase my awareness of theatrical deaths, nor does it fill me with fear, excitement or intrigue about how my own will come.

Despite an intriguing premise, fine comic moments, an insight or two and a very talented cast (both the principals and the local supporting actors), Oedipus Schmoedipus failed to impress me. The show, while never intended to be a story, needed a narrative or some kind of spine to hang its flesh on. Clever moments of humour, suspense or reverie are all well and good, but to be truly engaging, it wanted something that held the attention from its marvellously engaging opening to its haunting ending. Because it lacked this, it just didn't deliver on its promise.

Blood is indeed compulsory, but blood wants reason. Without reason, it's just red stuff to mop off the stage.

 

Intimate Spectacle
Oedipus Schmoedipus
by Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor & Natalie Rose

Directors Zoë Coombs Marr and Mish Grigor

Venue: Canberra Theatre Centre | Civic Square, London Circuit, Canberra
Dates: 14 – 15 March 2018
Tickets: $45 – $30
Bookings: canberratheatrecentre.com.au

 

 

Related Articles

Spot the Difference | The Stevenson Experience Spot the Difference | The Stevenson Experience
Biology is the comedy chemistry in The Stevenson Experience. Aussie identical twins Benjamin and James Stevenson sass and banter their show into an ideal blend of structured storyline mixed with...
The Weight of Light | The Street Theatre The Weight of Light | The Street Theatre
The Weight of Light is a richly crafted local production with universal themes of grief, despair, hope and fear. A range of original songs with intense vocals explain the journey of a soldier’s...

Tags: ,

Most read reviews

Merciless Gods | Little Ones Theatre

Arty Graphic Intense Funny Tragic Relentless and very very good.

The Lady in The Van | Melbourne Theatre Company

Bennett has always acknowledged that his garden guest Miss Shepherd, provided him with a wealth of material, but it is the analysis of his own part in this absurd situation that makes the story so compelling.

My Night With Reg | new theatre

My Night With Reg by Kevin Elyot is somewhat of a relic, a play about the plague years of the AIDS epidemic structured like a drawing room comedy of an even earlier era.

Comma Sutra | Louisa Fitzhardinge

It’s easy to imagine self-confessed grammar nerd Fitzhardinge, as the odd one out in the popular girls group at school.

Dr Felicity Rickshaw's Celebrity Sex Party | Holland St Productions

There is no question about the talents of this small ensemble, their voices and choral work are excellent and the writing is cleverly witty and extremely funny.

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required