Review: Odyssey

Reviewer Barbara Frame
Reviewer Barbara Frame
There's so much happening on the stage that it's hard to know where to look.

Odyssey
Kavanagh Auditorium
Thursday, October 16

On the left, two puppeteers sit in front of a projector. They manipulate small objects, mostly paper cut-outs - hundreds of them, exquisitely illustrated in ink. Other items include lights and their own hands.

Their intricate task demands enormous skill, split-second timing and very steady hands. The combination of low-tech materials and modern technology allows us to watch the production of a highly unusual silent film.

In the centre, a screen shows the results of their efforts, with multiple items producing three-dimensional effects to tell the story of Homer's Odyssey. The tale is told respectfully but with the judicious and often witty interpolation of modern images such as motorbikes and road signs.

There's a sense of wonder and fantasy as the story unfolds and Odysseus sails through 20 years' worth of perils and ordeals to a deeply affecting homecoming and reunion, at last, with his forlorn, beloved and faithful Penelope.

On the right, three musicians accompany this ''silent movie'' with a wide range of instruments and a variety of special sound effects.

Any one of these elements on a stage would produce a splendid evening's entertainment. Together, they are captivating.

The Paper Cinema, which has brought this highly original production to Dunedin, specialises in blending aspects of animation, theatre and music in unusual ways, and is regarded as one of Britain's most innovative theatre groups.

This is magical, exciting, transporting theatre and by far the best thing I've seen this week. Three more performances are scheduled - catch one of them if you possibly can.

- Reviewed by Barbara Frame 

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