The Oddity: Review

Rose Van Leyenhorst has reworked Homer’s Odyssey and not only flipped the role of protagonist but environment and era too.

‘It all started in 2013. What if I suddenly thought, The Odyssey is not about the adventures of the macho hero Odysseus but about the people that stay at home? And what if his son Telemachos was a girl? And what if the girl didn’t live in Ancient Greece?’

A tale that intertwines the idea of fantasy and reality is set against the backdrop of a family home where a young girl named Tilly (Alice Proctor) seems unable to cope in her current reality. Convinced that her father will return any day now, Tilly incessantly references Homer’s original as if it’s her own tale to tell.

Brought to you by Out of Nowhere Theatre, The Oddity is the first production for the company which was born to facilitate this process and they look to continue to produce high quality collaborative theatre in the future.

Also in its infancy was host Hope Mill Theatre opening in 2015 and established by Joseph Houston and William Whelton – the duo, inspired by Off West End Theatres, aim to replicate and form a creative hub in the heart of Manchester.

Proctor had the mammoth task of maintaining high levels of energy throughout as she portrays a young girl trapped between despair and delight, and tells her tale. With many lengthy monologues, and fixed on a small stage a couple of feet from her audience, this is in no way an easy task. Recently graduated from Manchester School of Theatre, Proctor had the audience mesmerised from the outset, and throughout.

Joining her was Maria Major – Tilly’s long suffering mother who strives for a normal family life as she navigates her way through domestic disruptions; framed by her daughter’s intense dedication to a father who has left.

Alongside the females of the piece was Oliver Devoti, who represents the changing role of the male in Tilly’s life.  Devoti transitions effortlessly, and with skill, playing each role as wonderfully as the last.

It is a complex plot and you could probably do with having an understanding of the original beforehand – nothing a little Spark Notes can’t help. The cast form a strong trio of talent and it’s a performance that shouldn’t be missed.

The Oddity continues its tour of the North-West



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