Based on Margaret Atwood's popular novel exploring The Odyssey from the viewpoint of his wife Penelope, Upstaged Theatre Company deliver a piece of theatre that is visually interesting but doesn't always manage to hit the right notes.
We revisit Penelope's life from the vantage-point of Hades; from her childhood to her marriage to Odysseus at 15 years old and her reflections on his 20-year absence during the Trojan War, concluding with his return and reaction to her line of suitors while exploring her relationship with her maids, whom Odysseus had hanged.
The pithy approach in dialogue is delivered well by this young, amateur company, the skilful Penelope outsmarting her suitors and the maids represent various personality traits in women, invoking a sense of pragmatic survival and quick wit. The problem is that because the maids take on a variety of roles and situations, their plight is unrealised in a production that doesn't acknowledge their savage rapes then murders at the hand of Odysseus the hero.
This works as storytelling theatre that has a great tale to tell but the narrative overshadows, creating a literary interpretation that does not escalate the drama. Steven Green's direction draws the characters with a light touch that borders on caricature which helps elevate the Greek aspect to a modern audience. This isn't out and out depressing, but an attractive look at the quandary of women.
Times: til 23 August, 2.50pm