So, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. It was brilliant-most shows. I’m only going to review the shows I really enjoyed though-I don’t really see much point in spending time writing a 250 word review saying “this was okish.” So over the next week, here’s my pick of shows.
Performed by: DEM Productions
Major cast: Lousia Holloway, Charlotte Mulliner, River Hawkins and Robert Willoughby
Seen at: C Nova
Review: It starts with Lysistrata's birthday party and her friends have bought her a stripper. But prices are rising, they can't pay and so he leaves. Lysistrata, angry with the austerity measures and work exploitation and the state of Greece in general, convinces her friends to withold sex until the men of Greece sort out the situation.
I've read Lysistrata by Aristophanes and I thought this was a very clever adaptation. I love the relavence of the Greek financial crisis and the use of social media as a rallying call to women. The transitions between rhymed verse and normal speaking is quite jarring and the tone set up at the beginning means the verse sounds really out of place.
It starts off a faithful modern adaptation, as much as you can do with four actors, distilling choruses down to single people and using sound effectively to create crowds. Then about the 2/3 mark I think (I’m not entirely sure) it gets very different, a lot darker, and by the end I'm thinking two things: this was meant to be a comedy and the writer seriously thinks Greece is screwed. I left thinking “woah. Not expecting that.” and I think it worked in this version [possible spoiler-highlight to see] as the war on austerity would obviously take time to fix and not be sorted by a sex strike in one night, as opposed to a war being fought by men who could easily stop. [end spoiler]
All four actors are very good. Louisa Hollway is Lysistrata throughout, doing well as a drunk angry woman who wants change, but also good at showing a more vulnerable side. The other three actors multirole, often crossdressing, creating very different characters through voices and movement.
The logistics could have been better. I sat in the centre of the third row, but a few scenes were on the ground, an unraised stage, so only the front row could really see, and the actors didn't have microphones so it was really hard to hear them when music was playing, meant to be in the background but drowning the actors out.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a strong modernisation and adaptation.