Lee Breuer and Jim Telson’s resetting of the Sophocles play, about the final journeys of Oedipus, works just fine as a huge gospel concert. However, more than the adaptation, it is the exuberant music and glorious singers that will stay in the memory.
Churches in the States quite often take over disused theatres to hold their services, so it is quite appropriate that the cavernous Playhouse is transformed for this show.
A masterstroke is to have the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama play the blinded Oedipus. The voice of lead singer Jimmy Carter may be ragged but his spirit is undimmed. Other parts are taken by members of well-known gospel groups and they know their stuff, as some of them have been performing this show for over 20 years. There is a real-life pastor, a huge, colourfully clad choir and big- voiced women soloists.
Even for non-believers, there can be no denying the enormous moving power of the music and the sheer joy that the wonderful cast exhibit. A terrific success for the International Festival, presenting a huge show that might be difficult to present commercially in this country.