fri 23/10/2020

Greek, Music Theatre Wales, Brecon | reviews, news & interviews

Greek, Music Theatre Wales, Brecon

Greek, Music Theatre Wales, Brecon

It suits Oedipus opera to stage it like pop-up travelling theatre

'Greek': The cast of four play all the parts with the zing of a cartoonAll images © Clive Barda

The funny thing about updating is how old-fashioned it can seem. Perhaps that’s why opera directors “update” to the Fifties, building in their own obsolescence. Steven Berkoff didn’t deliberately do this (I suppose) in his Oedipus play Greek; yet behind the interminable shits and fucks, the inyerface monkey farts, the snot and the vomit, there does lurk a rather touching aproned and flat-capped mum-and-dad Family Favourites world that was certainly long dead by 1980, when the play was first done. And it’s one of the strong points of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 1988 opera that it preserves all the essentials of the play but seems less of a period piece.

The funny thing about updating is how old-fashioned it can seem. Perhaps that’s why opera directors “update” to the Fifties, building in their own obsolescence. Steven Berkoff didn’t deliberately do this (I suppose) in his Oedipus play Greek; yet behind the interminable shits and fucks, the inyerface monkey farts, the snot and the vomit, there does lurk a rather touching aproned and flat-capped mum-and-dad Family Favourites world that was certainly long dead by 1980, when the play was first done. And it’s one of the strong points of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 1988 opera that it preserves all the essentials of the play but seems less of a period piece.

The whole thing is done as a strip cartoon, with plenty of pow and zap but nothing to frighten the kids

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