Oedipus: A Love Story is not your usual Greek tragedy. Narrated by a flock of Welsh sheep and with a sphinx that’s a sexual maneater in leopard print and heels, Dumbshow’s take on this twisted love story is jolly good fun. Using puppetry, physical theatre and good old fashioned storytelling, four energetic performers take us through Oedipus’ tragic tale with a fruity wink. From the off, they engage with us directly, learning people’s names and calling back to them throughout the show. It’s a clever trick and gets the audience on side immediately.
Reminiscent of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, this is a strange, imaginative world. Here, Kings and Queens sit around in dressing gowns doing crosswords whilst the Oracle gets his prophecies in the form of snatches of pop music from Britney Spears to The Beatles. The whole thing is immensely humanising, which is just what this melodramatic story needs – although all the silliness does take away from the tragedy somewhat, with no real feeling of disaster at the end.
But if that’s the price Dumbshow’s imaginative and light-hearted take has to pay, it’s one well worth it in a show which will open up this tale to a whole new audience. They’ve also done a fantastic job of making this a genuine love story. At one point you find yourself rooting for Oedipus and Jocasta to get together, which is a disconcerting experience to say the least.
Dumbshow deliver an hour of pure entertainment that’s guaranteed to leave you grinning.
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