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Promethe(us) - perhaps. a theatre company (Fringe World 2024)

Reviewed by Kate O'Sullivan


Prometheus, one of the Titans and a god of fire is best known in Greek mythos for defying the Olympian gods by stealing fire from them and giving it to humanity in the form of technology, knowledge, and more generally, civilization. Prometheus, over time, has become a figure who represented human striving, the quest for scientific knowledge, and the risk of overreaching and unintended consequences. In particular, he has been seen as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could also result in tragedy.

The show is split into three "acts", with different elements and perspectives highlighted as we switch between which of the three performers takes the lead. Delving through examinations of the importance of body, fire, and one's own voice, the poetry-meets-script style works well to explore the topics in an interesting way. The use of physicality and the painting of stage pictures by the three performers was an asset to this production, something often forgotten in Fringe World shows.

The live music adds interest and dimension through the piece, with lyrics that are additive to both the mood as well as the points being emphasised. However, in a work where the words are so critical, the audio balance needed some work. The musician and their guitar were both amplified, which meant at times they drowned out the performers, making what was complex and layered dialogue difficult to hear and thus follow. Having the performers without microphones allowed for a commendably intimate feeling, but it's a tricky thing to balance out when you are balancing mood and emotive text with necessary volume.

The set, while simple in design, was used very effectively. The boxes and threads wove together well and were flexible enough for the performers to use them in vastly varying ways. There were moments when the lighting caused us to lose the performer's faces in moments where we wanted to see what they were thinking, but in general, the soft ambient light really enhanced the show. The fourth-wall-breaking switches between acts could have been a little smoother, as we lost some of the show's momentum each time as we snapped out of this well-constructed ambience, but that's a nit-picky thing at this juncture. 

This is a show I would recommend catching if it crops up again. It is a well-crafted link between mythology and the modern condition, and one that will leave the audience thinking about their own side of the well-presented story.

Rachel Abelha, Emmett Aster and Hunter Perry. Promotion Image provided

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this show were provided by the theatre company.


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