Acorn, The Courtyard

Tatty Henderson’s production is visually and technically strong but Maud Dromgoole’s content as an adaptation of Persephone and Eurydice is baffling at times in this short play.

The play starts strong with Deli Segal’s Doctor Persephone, whose clinical approach extends not only to her patients but to her life and it is affecting her bedside manner. We get to know this character and invest but the introduction of Lucy Pickle’s Eurydice is confusing as it intertwines with Persephone’s day. Eurydice is getting married, Persephone is tired and that is pretty much the play until Eurydice gets bitten by a snake on her wedding breakfast.

Acorn (c) Hannah Ellis (14).jpg
Lucy Pickle (foreground) and Deli Seagal (background) (c) Hannah Ellis

The production isn’t linear, which is forgivable in a longer, clearer production but this reminded me of Almeida’s recent adaptation of Medea, using a famous mythology as a loose base and polishing and modernising it until it becomes unrecognisable. Persephone and Eurydice aren’t tales that are traditionally merged together, and I see why Dromgoole has, but it is so different from the myth that I just wish that it had played up on the far more relevant Snow White story.
There are so many scenes that scene changes are intercut with a section involving tree surgeons, provided as audio only by Luke MacGregor and Trevor Fox, a purpose which seems to confuse rather than clarify the story. In the cold light of day, I am guessing it is to with the wood where Eurydice has her wedding reception but I mention my confusion and stupidity hoping that someone can help and as a heads up that this is not just a production you can drift from and expect to keep up with.

As a stage production it is faultless, beautiful lighting design Jai Morjaria complements Phil Lindsey’s floating, dream-like design and both performances are engaging but the content feels too filed down and smooth to engage. Greek mythology is rough around the edges and this adaptation takes that away. Tatty Hennessy’s a director I am keen to see again as there is some stunning, almost film like scenes six as Eurydice’s dancing, inter cut with Tom Pearson’s projections of cartoons and couples dancin

What saves this is Segal and Pickles engaging performances, they have chemistry, are highly watchable with great comic timing and I look forward to seeing them in other productions but it is an intense production that feels lie it requires a lot of background reading and I long to Dromgoole keep it simple and build on her strengths as a humorous writer with an eye for character.

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