Anteworld

I never intended to review this much theatre this Fringe season, but there have been so many intriguing performances on offer that it ended up being the predominant genre of my run. So it seems fitting that my final review should prove to be another theatre piece, and an interesting one at that.

Anteworld is local playwright Mark Tripodi's first creation to see stage light, and has an inventive and modern approach to the tragic Grecian mythological figures it portrays: wife of Hades, Persephone; former compatriot of Theseus, Pirithous; and lost love of Orpheus, Eurydice.

All in a room that's not quite Tartarus, and not quite the world above, weaving in the Christian notion of Purgatory. The setting is an appropriate choice for the play, as the narrative mainly consists of the three debating their roles and actions in their respective canonical myths. The device also permits a bit of fourth wall breaking, with Persephone outright showing the disbelieving Eurydice her ultimate fate in a Greek classics paperback collection.

What makes this a novel treatment of these well-familiar tales is its focus on giving a voice to those figures of mythology whose stories ended after the 'blameless heroes' left them. It challenges notions of martyrdom, patriarchy and destiny to instead give ironically human perspectives into the three figures' motivations, flaws and regrets. The waters of Tartarus' pools of Lethe (forgetting) and Mnemosyne (remembering) are employed neatly in support of this narrative theme.

The play is not without its shortcomings: sometimes the delivery felt a little stilted, as though they were still doing a cold reading, and the riposting between "Sephy" and "Pyrie" felt more infantile than amusing. But these can easily be forgiven considering this is the players, writer and director's first proper foray into theatre.

Anteworld provides an original retextualisation of canonical Greek mythology that is somehow both challenging and approachable. It's still early in its run at the Bakehouse Theatre, and I esteem that with a bit of polishing the play will provide audiences with an utterly unique and compelling theatre experience.

★★★