I shouldn’t have had the wine.
I have a bad habit. When circumstances conspire – bit tired, warm-to-stifling environment, not too loud and not too bright – I have a tendency to fall asleep. In public. Sitting up. *sigh* And when you add a glass of wine to the mix….
Anyway, I went to see a performance of The Odyssey at the Stork Hotel this afternoon. I only saw it advertised yesterday when I was walking in the city, thought I had missed it (like I missed their performance of The Iliad – GAH!), then found out they were doing a matinee today… very excited. But this is also where the wine comes in (average service at the Stork on a Sunday, just by the way): I didn’t hear all about Polyphemus….
The performers were excellent. Rod Mullinar was brilliant as the patriarchs – and his voice is so familiar, I will have to go and google him. Helen Morse, Jane Nolan and Humphrey Bower were also fantastic – although I am still thinking through Bower’s very Yorkshire Poseidon. They were thoroughly engaging, and easy to listen to, and didn’t go too overboard on characterisation – which actually worked very nicely.
Couple of things:
* Odysseus in the Underworld, after he pours out the libation? First zombie appearance in Western literature. That’s my theory.
* I was dreading the Telemakos bits. I can’t stand those bits (actually, I’m more of an Iliad girl, but you take what you can manage to get to). They skipped them out! Telemakos only appears on Ithaka – no jaunting off to Menelaos or Nestor! Very relieved.
* The one thing that didn’t work so well was Odysseus returning home. I thought it was a bit jerky, the events of landing on Ithaka – being found by Telemakos – and eventually getting the suitors (and Morse as the nurse was so evil in her delight at their deaths!). It didn’t flow very well at all.
All round, though, this was fantastic. Not too long, lighting was effective, music was a surprise (not the music itself, when it started – the fact that there was music at all) but also effective, and the performers… marvellous.