This is the kind of production that Anywhere Festival was created for.
Set along a muddy footpath, bordered by sky-high gum trees and delving into puddles, the Divine Appeal of Medea, is a bold adaptation of Euripides’ text. This work does not shy away from the gruesomeness of the story, exploring it boldly from the perspectives of both Medea and Jason. This is an exciting piece of theatre because it uses the space so well. Mud drenches the costumes just as conflicting values confuse and muddy the decision made by Medea. Crickets provided an additional chorus, heightening intensity. Even the trees cried a few leaves as the sad tale was shared. Clever use of portable lighting enhanced the storytelling and created focus. Music selections softly supported the anguish of the characters. This is a work that has done a lot of things right because the set was a living, breathing, singing addition to the cast.
The ensemble worked well and supported each other throughout. Every word was clearly communicated, though at times the delivery lacked intention. Movement through and around the space created a surround-sound effect. This was clearly a well-rehearsed team effort. Every great production demonstrates that there are no small parts in theatre, and the effective use of the chorus in this adaptation was a highlight.
There were some challenges: the seating provided limited viewing for those in the back rows and the music was a little too soft. However, the heart and soul of this piece was a well-connected and focused ensemble. This is a show worth seeing for its clever design and brilliant use of chorus.
The Divine Appeal of Medea can be seen on Saturday 19th May at Montessori International College. Tickets can be purchased at https://anywhere.is/listings/medea/.