The Factory Theatre presented The Odyssey as part of the London Jam at the Park Theatre. In two hours they re-enact all 24 books of Homer’s saga without costume or set, just two simple props (a stick and a hoop) and a whole lot of improvisation.

The Factory Theatre works as a collective with everyone taking part on stage and alternating roles. For each book/chapter an audience member picks a shard from a bowl on which a task is written. The performer who has taken the lead on that book has to work the task into the subsequent performance.

The most enjoyable improvisations are those which involve a restriction: act a scene while moving around connected by sticks or the scene in which each sentence had to be only three words long. The direct audience interaction, including one scene where the audience members moved the actors as puppets, was brilliant. These tasks show off the creativity and skill of the performers and are deeply entertaining.

The Odyssey had a great sense of play and the audience was warmly welcomed into the Factory’s community. However, it was not always comfortable: I struggled with the scenes that required the actors to shoehorn in a personal story that (vaguely) related to the action. The stories shared were touching but also felt too intimate: I wasn’t sure what to do with facts like “my girlfriend’s struggling with her job as an actress” or “I betrayed my mother.”

The first act especially felt over long, but the second hour of The Odyssey luckily sped up, making for quicker quips and better flow. It did show that the Factory performers are a talented creative bunch. The vocal harmonising was lovely and the (physical) comedy was an absolute highlight.

Improvisation by nature is showing-off skills but this performance felt a tad self-indulgent. I imagine it was great fun being in the performance - enjoyment was clearly visible on stage - but this was not a rehearsal room.

Reviews by Clarissa Widya

Alice The Musical

★★★★
Landor Theatre

Best of Friends

★★
Camden People's Theatre

Laqueum

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

No sets, no costumes, no props. Just imagination, passion and a whole lot of spontaneity. The Factory present unique re-imaginings of the stories we think we know.

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets