Saturday, May 25

Oedipus Electronica – Brixton House

Of all the iconic Greek myths that have firmly held their place in our collective consciousness, the story of Oedipus is one of the most infamous. So, what do you get if you take this tragic tale and add a 21st century London setting, strobe lighting, and live electronic music? You get Pecho Mama’s Oedipus Electronica, currently playing at Brixton House until 9th March.

Flipping the notorious story of Oedipus, the plot centres around Jocasta (Mella Faye), a writer struggling to complete a script ahead of a rapidly approaching deadline. But when she discovers she’s pregnant with her husband Laius (Kwame Bentil), she feels an almost supernatural compulsion to write about the son she had taken away from her when she was young. Propelled by a force greater than herself, she unknowingly starts writing her own version of the myth, with Oedipus (Ryan David Harston) as her son.

As we see Jocasta’s script come to life on stage, Pecho Mama’s music (played on stage by Don Bird on drums and Tom Penn on double bass and keys) throbs and convulses, with passion, fear, and primal rage. By making the live music an integral part of the production, Oedipus Electronica creates a visceral, enthralling spectacle driven by a compellingly original take on the tale.

Complimenting the epic Electronica is Mella Faye’s equally staggering set design: an industrial-looking structure that is utilised in increasingly surprising ways as the three characters interact and confront their individual turmoil’s. Paired with Tanya Stephenson and Clare O’Donoghue’s striking lighting design, Oedipus Electronica is a visual feast that you can’t tear your eyes away from.

The only element that sometimes falls short is the script. While the retelling of a Greek tragedy will obviously never be a subtle affair, a few scenes were on the heavy-handed side. In a show so visually and aurally arresting, the script didn’t need to push quite so many moments to the extreme.

At the heart of this electrifying piece is a very strong cast. As Oedipus, Harston glides through demanding movement pieces with unbelievable ease, his physicality powerfully conveying the inner workings of this troubled character. Bentil’s Laius gets the least amount of time on stage but makes the most of every second with a warm yet vulnerable performance, and Faye is bewitching as the deeply complex Jocasta.

Not for the faint-hearted, Oedipus Electronica is a fearless, jaw-dropping piece of theatre that confronts the darkest corners of the human psyche head-on.

Reviewer: Olivia Cox

Reviewed: 6th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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