11/01/2024 - 28/01/2024
Adapted and directed by Dan Bain
Noosed Octopus: Theatre, etc
This summer join writer/director Dan Bain with his fast and furious adaptation of The Odyssey for Anthony Harper Summer Theatre 2024! 12 books of epic ancient poetry condensed to 90 minutes of comedic action! A cast of thousands played by only three actors! With just the right blend of accuracy to please the purists, and plenty of fun and nonsense to please all, The Odyssey is must-see entertainment this summer. Pack your sunscreen, a picnic, something for the bucket, and your sense of humour for this laugh-out-loud adaptation of the classic Greek text.
Outdoors in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Thurs 11 Jan: 6.30pm
Fri 12 Jan: 6.30pm
Sat 13 Jan: 2.30pm & 6.30pm (2.30pm session is cancelled due to heat)
Sun 14 Jan: 2.30pm & 6.30pm
Thurs 18 Jan: 6.30pm
Fri 19 Jan: 6.30pm
Sat 20 Jan: 2.30pm & 6.30pm
Sun 21 Jan: 2.30pm & 6.30pm
Thurs 25 Jan: 6.30pm
Fri 26 Jan: 6.30pm
Sat 27 Jan: 6.30pm
Sun 28 Jan: 2.30pm & 6.30pm
The Odyssey was produced by Noosed Octopus: Theatre, etc and the Christchurch City Council with the generous assistance of Anthony Harper for Anthony Harper Summer Theatre 2024
Daniel Allan is Odysseus, Poseidon, & others
Donna Brookbanks is Athena, Circe, Penelope & others
Millie Hanford is Zeus, Telemachus, & others
Written & Directed by Dan Bain
Production Management by Mandy Perry
Set Design & Construction by Chris Reddington
Operated by Andrew Todd
Sound Design & Original Composition by Dan Bain
Additional Composition by Micheal Bell
110 mins + interval
Physical humour and theatrical creativity ensure that this Odyssey is an epic success.
Review by Ruth Agnew 21st Jan 2024
The gargantuan scale of the events of The Odyssey is evident in the opening moments of Dan Bain’s comedic adaptation of Homer’s epic poem about a war hero taking a long route home. Odysseus enters through the audience with the gift horse whose mouth should have been more thoroughly inspected, The Trojan Horse. There is no sleight of hand or stage trickery used to represent the enormous equine Easter egg, simply an actor dragging a heavy wooden animal. This opening image hints at the monumental task Bain has set himself in adapting this Ancient Greek road-trip soap opera into a family friendly two-hour romp, and the weight of the mantle he places on his three actors, who must embody the cast of thousands. Tell me, O muse, will our ingenious dreamer contain the lofty journey within a smaller space and time?
Well, yes. Yes, he can. Turns out three actors and two hours is the exact number needed to retell The Oydessy, as long as you have a whole bunch of hats.
So many hats.
In fact, before we move onto the noble domes upon which the hats are placed, I want to heap praise upon the heads faced with backstage hat wrangling. The backstage and technical wizardry (Mandy Perry and Andrew Todd) is deserving of accolades; I tip my hat at their service and sacrifice.
Returning to the matters of the chaps under the caps: an absolute casting triumph. At first glance, Millie Hanford, Donna Brookbanks and Daniel Allan may not appear armed and ready to lead us on a decade long trek from Troy to Ithaca in the guise of every soldier, siren and Cyclops in Homer’s arsenal. At second glance, they may still seem more suited to the challenge of checking in for a Jetstar flight than an epic ancient journey. Gotcha! The unassuming, casual demeanour of the actors is another Trojan Horse Bain has inserted into the show, as the versatility and exceptional range of these three excellent comedic actors quickly appears.
Daniel Allan plays Odysseus as a relatable Everyman, with a likeable charm that makes us cheer for him as he escapes the jaws of cannibal giants and mythical monsters. Millie Hanford is majestic as Zeus whilst putting in a hardcore cardio workout scaling the set for quick role switches. Donna Brookbanks’ commitment to accents rivals Meryl Streep’s mastery, in unexpected ways. These three performers are exactly who I’d want beside me in my phalanx.
Bain takes the complications of staging an outdoor production and turns them into opportunities for physical humour and theatrical creativity. This is an action-packed, fast-paced, perfectly-placed triumphant return to the Summertimes stage for the playwright and director, as was evident from audience’s resounding response.
Bain’s ambitious undertaking is an epic success, with audiences the ultimate victors.
Hear me, Ōtautahi: don’t miss The Odyssey!
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