14 – 30 Aug (some dates only)
1300-1400, C Soco
As we gleefully throw plastic balls at the cowering figure of Ted Stirling, the hero of Belt Up’s visceral interpretation of Odyssey, we realise how easy it is to be persuaded to blindly follow orders: to turn in an instant from sympathy towards a hero on a journey to be reunited with his one true love, to part of a braying and mindless mob.
Filled with blood, sex and strong language, Odyssey is Belt Up’s most hard-hitting production to date. With a grunge-filled atmosphere, it transports the original Greek setting to a nightmarish post-apocalyptic land, where an irradiated America is disintegrating, and the invading British forces are carving it up as their own.
Poet laureaute Ted Stirling is thrust unwilling into this distopyian hell, trying to find out what happened to his wife after the devastation of New York. On his epic quest, he is met and accosted by freaks, mutants, psychos and beings of a more otherworldy nature, until his journey reaches its inevitable climax.
The three-strong cast are excellent in this no-holds barred production, using every inch of the claustrophobic space to present a grim vision of a world where all compassion has died. Blood spatters the floor; brother turns against brother; eyes are gouged out – this is not for the faint-hearted, or indeed the easily offended.
A familiarity with the original text will be of great benefit in fully appreciating this piece: as the power of its subtleties and juxtaposed settings could easily be lost in this 60 minute performance. It is however testament to Belt Up’s physicality and the power of the writing that – even if your knowledge of the classics is a bit rusty – this is still a piece which grips you by the throat until you’re forcibly ejected at the end.
Ticket information is available on the Fringe website
Review by Keith D