Reviewed by Victor Gluck
Presented by the adobe theatre company at the Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster St., NYC, Oct. 19-Nov. 4.
From the adobe theatre company—the inventive collective that created "Duet: A Romantic Fable," "The Handless Maiden," and "Notions In Motion"—an unfortunate miss. "Orpheus and Eurydice," written and staged by talented Artistic Director Jeremy Dobrish, attempts to update the Greek legend, giving it a new twist as he has already done with Grimm fairy tales, love stories, and Pirandello in the past. This is a legend, however, that has been updated countless times, and his borrowings from Cocteau's "Orphee," Anouilh's "Legend of Lovers," Camus' "Black Orpheus," and the Deutche Oper Berlin's modern dress production of Gluck's "Orpheo ed Euridice" are obvious. The audience is way ahead of this unfunny parody.
Here Orpheus (played with believable confusion by Andrew Elvis Miller) is a rock star with a group called "In Your Thrace." The other members of his band are Hercules and Jason, who he has met on the adventure of the Golden Fleece. We never hear their concert, nor even see them rehearse. The gimmick of having Eurydice never appear because she is an invisible wood nymph quickly palls. Other than Adam Smith's unexplained Irish accent as Jason and Jeremy Brisiel's large build as Hercules, nothing further is done with these legends. Many of the parodies are one-shot jokes that go on too long, such as Atalanta in a single's bar because, as the fastest woman in the world, she can't get a date. The appearance of Tantalus and Sisyphus in Hades is equally undeveloped. Orpheus' traveling through the mirror to reach Hades was handled better in Cocteau's film.
Most interesting are Erin Quinn Purcell, who as both Atalanta and Death gives two contrasting interpretations, and Jennifer Ward as one of Orpheus' groupies. Michael Gottlieb's lighting design, particularly for Orpheus' journey through Hades, is up to the abode's usual superlative standard.