Psyche is the most beautiful girl, who Cupid is sent to extract revenge upon by his mother, Venus. The pair fall in love, but are overcome with several increasingly more challenging obstacles set by Venus who is angry at their love. Eventually, with the help of Jupiter, the pair wed and normal order is restored amongst the Gods.
This version by Laurs Oakley and Alex Wilcox combines physical theatre with storytelling and live music to create a fun and vibrant version of the Roman fable for 3Bugs Fringe Theatre.
The presentation of the story feels like it is for us, the audience, and we see the individual personalities emerge within the ensemble. Rosie Solomon’s ‘empowerment’ which Oakley speaks of in the programme comes across strongly in her powerful portrayal of Venus, as does Jade Corbett’s ‘intellectual innocence’ as the titular character.
Joe Bonfield had a great comic turn as a seagull alongside his portrayal of Cupid, whilst Olivia O’Neill and Katy Adams made a great pair of detestable sisters easily transferable into Cinderella. Nils Klein had an assured stage presence and always felt regal in the ways he addressed the others. Martha Powell-Dooley stood out for her strong character presence and captivating delivery. Playing a number of smaller roles in the performance, she stood out in her differing character portrayals and dedication to the telling of the story.
Whilst a few moments felt stunted in the first Act, the second half really saw Oakley’s movement shine. Much darker in tone, the physical behaviour of the actors becomes more grotesque and internally founded. The imagination of the director deserves praise for the creation of mountains and thrones, as we move from Earth to the Underworld where you truly feel embedded into Psyche’s perilous journey.
On occasion, the language was unnecessarily complex, but on a fable which has transgressed millennium, this version made for enjoyably fun. I do not think I have ever longed for a happy ending as much as I did this evening. The cast of Psyche concluded with their own version of the ‘Globe-jig’, revelling in the pleasure that the cast and crew of this not-too-serious play created.