Lip Theatre Company’s offering at the Fringe this year presents an interesting take on the classic Greek myth of Medusa: one that is unfortunately plagued with tonal shifts and an unfocused vision that hinders the performance. This retelling follows the titular
Veers erratically from comedic to dark at disorientating speed
This earnest student production is performed with considerable enthusiasm by its actors, who show complete commitment to their parts from scene to scene - be it playful monsters, brash heroes or scheming gods. Indeed the play’s strongest aspects are to be found in its performers, who bring a joyful energy and playfulness to the comedic scenes, though their abilities are stretched by the more dramatic scenes as the play progresses, which can come off as overwrought and melodramatic in the wrong places.
It is, however, the interplay between the comedic and the dramatic that truly hinders the play's ability to tell its story, as the tone veers erratically from comedic and light to surprisingly dark and visceral at disorientating speed. Initially I thought the show was intended for a younger audience with its modern references and jokes about cheese before it took a nosedive into the grim end of drama, with scenes of sexual assault and overt misogyny playing out in between the comedic skits. Attempts to address issues of this kind are commendable, but the play does not really discuss or interrogate them, merely throwing them at the audience before quickly moving on.
In addition artistic choices, such as an attempt to blur the line between the narrator and the rest of the cast, confuse the play’s own internal logic and leave you baffled about who exactly many of the people on stage are meant to be. This is a shame as the script shows promise and some sophistication in its discussions of gender and sexuality, but its need to be both accessible, comedic and light whilst at the same time being adult and gritty leaves the story achieving neither.
Technically the show is competent, with lighting and sound being used to adequately help set the scene and the props and costumes aiding the general mood of the play. With a reworking of the script, a tightening of performances, and a firm commitment to either its playful comedy or its grim realism, the show could shine; as it is, it leaves a rather more lukewarm impression.