It feels like a bold move going to the theatre to see a staging of Homer’s Odyssey. An epic tale that spans decades, countries and Hades. We are promised an immersive experience and are greeted with a full stage; projectors, instruments and household implements are strewn across the space. From the moment the evening begins, it is clear the next 75 minutes are going to be very special.
With a live band of 3 musicians and two artist/puppeteers, the evening begins with a real time live animated prologue introducing the main characters. A simply drawn pen and ink character fills the stage as does the original score. What unfolds is the voyage that Odysseus takes home from the Trojan War and the trials and tribulations that stand in his way. It is the way the story is told that makes Paper Cinema’s production refreshing, dynamic and thoroughly engaging. Using live 2D animation projected upon a screen that is accompanied by a live score, you quickly get the sense that this show is a one off. Whilst their tour is extensive, no one is going to see the show you are seeing again. This is made clear by the quick choices the animators and musicians are making. The joy they take in bringing this epic tale to life is infectious and the response at the end was as much in appreciation of the company’s generosity of spirit as much as for their work.
The theatrical ingenuity of Paper Cinema is there to be seen and to talk about techniques and devices would spoil the fun of anyone seeing this fabulously inventive show. It would be fair to say influences range from silent movie through to radio and the creative ways of using Foley. Highlights include a motorcycle road trip, time spent in Hades and the remarkable ability to capture flashbacks and memories.
In all, Paper Cinema’s Odyssey is a whimsical delight that strikes at the heart of creativity and storytelling and is also another feather in the cap of the mighty Tobacco Factory.