This performance by Belt-Up Theatre of Dominic J. Allen’s re-writing of Homer’s classic doesn’t really work for a number of reasons.
We are escorted by cast members to a dingy, claustrophobic L-shaped room in the bowels of the Lowry where those on the wrong side of the L can’t see and everyone is uncomfortably warm. On the way we are subjected to light-hearted, flirtatious banter which sets the wrong tone for this classic tragedy re-set in a modern America irradiated by nuclear weapons.
The performance is certainly tragic with sexual innuendo and simulated sex throughout. To make matters worse, the piece over runs by a sleep inducing half an hour (yes, the woman next to me did yawn), and it is difficult for ordinary mortals like myself to understand why poet Ted Stirling transmogrifies into Odysseus and back.
The saving grace is the performance of Dominic J. Allen in the leading role. Since he is also the writer, he understands his character completely. The moment when he is reunited with his wife (Serena Manteghi) is quite moving and the excellent special effects add atmosphere.
The audience doesn’t clap at the end. Perhaps being told to f… off by a man wearing underpants (Joe Hufton) has something to do with it.