Orpheus Adelaide Fringe 2019★★★★★

The Flanagan Collective & Gobbledigook Theatre. Open Air Theatre, Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 21 Feb 2020


Edinburgh is grey. Grey buildings, grey streets, grey skies. Alex Wright tells you this, so you understand the world of Dave. It’s Dave’s 30th birthday, and he lost the ability to see colour when he was a child. He used to sing flowers, but the world of colour was bullied out of him by his peers. He’s hanging out in bars with the sort of mates that inspired Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping, singing Springsteen karaoke, when suddenly, colour breaks through. It is Eurydice, and she is coloured love.


The transformation of Dave is both eloquent and elegant. Wright’s rewriting of the classic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is filled with the humour, despair, joy and brutality of love. The gods giveth, and the gods taketh away.


Phil Grainger is the perfect accompaniment to this tale; he plays the guitar and sings a libretto for the star-crossed lovers, for how can a man who sees grey keep to himself a tree nymph?


This is two handed theatre at its finest, and it’s what Fringe theatre is all about. Set in the Botanic Rose Garden at dusk, there is no set, no props – just two men, a leather bound book and a guitar. The engagement is immediate, and there is a pure pleasure in listening to the mellifluous words and music as Wright and Grainger guide us through this tale.


Eurydice’s death (note: this is not a spoiler) makes us bleed for Dave, and we quite willingly suspend our disbelief to journey with him from karaoke bar to Hades, crossing the River Styx with Charon and soothing the multi headed Cerberus to rescue his love.


See this show; the language and the music will wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. Bliss.


Arna Eyers-White


When: 21 Feb to 11 Mar

Where: Open Air Theatre, Adelaide Botanic Garden

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

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