There are many ways to retell Homer’s story of the Trojan War, and as David Zampatti discovers, you can make a more than decent fist of it with four comic actors and a bunch of puppets.
Troy Story, Black Martini Productions ·
Rubix Bar, 12 February, 2021 ·
I’m a registered Homerphile. I’ve read The Iliad and The Odyssey, marvelled at Dennis O’Hare’s glorious An Iliad at the 2014 Perth Festival, and have Stephen Fry’s Troy on my bedside table right now.
I’ve studied the archaeology, watched the documentaries, and pondered that, from the walls of Troy, sharp-eyed Hector could have gazed across the Dardanelles to the ridges of Gallipoli, scene of our own epic story of courage and tragedy. (Okay, I haven’t watched Brad Pitt and Eric Bana battle it out on the blood-soaked plains below the battlements, but everything has its limits.)
So, it was with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension that I approached Troy Story – the cute title and the puppets (yikes) in the promo material didn’t exactly fit with my lofty view of the great ancient story.
I needn’t have worried. Thomas Dimmick, Hock Edwards, Grace Edwards and Erin Craddock have neatly skewered the legend’s incongruities, captured the essence of its massive personalities and preserved its boundless energy.
The result is genuinely entertaining and funny, and yet remains true to the strengths that have kept the Trojan War at the top of the charts for coming on three thousand years.
For this, much credit goes to the cast, who dive into their work with fantastic vim and vigour. They are adept at delineating their “live” characters, while the puppets come out to play the minor ones, like a very Trumpian Zeus, whose approach to being King of the Gods is to hang around waiting to see what happens.
Hock Edwards gives Achilles a comic ferocity reminiscent of Brian Blessed, and Grace Edwards is extraordinary as the unguided missile, Diomedes. Craddock tinkles around as talking rivers and Irish myths – there’s a United Nations’ worth of accents across the play’s personages – and Dimmick is a dab hand at some of its less macho creatures.
They deserve to have been having as much fun doing this frisky little number as I did watching it.
Pictured top: Theatrical jumps with, from left, Hock Edwards, Erin Craddock,Thomas Dimmick and Grace Edwards. Photo: David Cox
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