As the sun slipped behind the trees of Botanical Gardens, and the limited skyscrapers of Adelaide shimmered, we are ushered into the rose garden in a far corner of Adelaide Fringe. It’s quaint, picturesque, or it would be if it wasn’t for the V8 supercars taking part in a race 500 meters away.
But once settled, greeted by the performers, and the performance starts the sound almost vanishes, or is at least reduced to a subtle roar.
This modern retelling of the Orpheus story is the brainchild of Alexander Wright of The Flannagan Collective, and Phil Grainger of Gobbledigook Theatre. The work is so popular 2020 marks the shows third season in the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
It, and it’s sibling shows Eurydice and The Gods The Gods The Gods, are quiet unlike anything offered at the Fringe in the last few years. They are incredibly unique, and teaming with heart and warmth. It is pure storytelling, striping back the pizazz of modern theatre and performed raw, outside, and unplugged. The work and its performers respond to the audience and environment.
Orpheus tells the story of Dave, a colour-blind twenty something who finds himself on the eve of his 30th birthday singing Bruce Springsteen’s’ Dancing in the Dark, in a packed karaoke bar, in London, in the middle of black out, when a girl made entirely of colour walks in. Eurydice.
Upon meeting Eurydice, Dave’s world is transformed into a blazing jewel box of colour and passion. As with ancient myth from which it’s drawn, Eurydice dies on their wedding night, and Dave, so wretched with grief is given permission from The Gods themselves to enter the underworld and get her back from Hades. But unlike its source material, the show gives some hope beyond Orpheus ill-fated mission, without wanting to spoil it, it’s new resolution to the story will fill you to the brim with hope.
Wright’s performance is utterly flawless, and Grainger’s live music superb, their connection and commitment as artists is unrivalled in this year’s Fringe
Orpheus has been performed nearly 350 times around the world and it’s easy to see why. If you haven’t already seen it, make plans to, and if dear reader you find yourself within a production in the future – see it – you won’t be disappointed.