Review ORPHEUS ****

THEATRE

ORPHEUS

Summerhall venue 26 14.50

**** (Four stars)

A modern lad, Dave, is turning 30. He is good at the bar and a keen singer. This is very appropriately described as a tale of ancient gods and late night karaoke. Bruce Springsteen has a role to play here, and we all sing along to a little of his music. Plus other songs that stem from our very able and inspiring guitarist, singer and Orpheus, Phil Grainger.

The words are by Alexander Wright, contained in a special book that relates to his engagement, as he explains to us. Dave (Phil) is a dab hand with the guitar and with the singing, and all is going well at the karaoke, and we have been singing along, when there is a power cut. A complete black out. But Dave keeps singing, and his voice clearly has a special effect, for the golden figure of the nymph Eurydice appears.

This is a life-changing event. Happiness reigns, marriage occurs, but then Eurydice dies. We then follow the traditional story. The emotional atmosphere changes, the action becomes charged in a different way, and the music is correspondingly more dramatic. Alex;s script is dynamic and strongly felt, but it is spoken pretty quickly. It may be better pared down some so that what is spoken can be allowed a full, measured effect.

Despite the tragic and ultimately downbeat nature of the tale, the mood of this show is generally exuberant, and it is very much a collective, social experience, one in which we all feel we have a part, and very much a festive event.

Tony Challis