The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey

The sound of the sea lapping at the sides of Odysseus' boat is our first step into the world of Homer's Odyssey, as imagined by delicate weavers of visual tales The Paper Cinema. The great epic rumbles into life with one foreboding note of violin. Our performers, all five of them, sit somewhat pell-mell in the foreground of the stage, with an array of camera equipment, scenery, cardboard characters and instruments arranged around them.

The story would have been impossible to portray in its entirety while still granting us an opportunity to revel in the impressive feats of animation coming to life before our eyes. Black ink drawings are scrawled with fountain pen as the credits fade into view, and we are introduced to our characters. A personal favourite is the portrayal of Penelope's suitors as sinister wolves with great snarling snouts, whose appearance is accompanied by a burst of sinister waltz and jazzy melodica.

The many cameras create for us a black and white richly penned world where everything from a boar hunt to the wrath of Poseidon is filmed to the heights of cinematic stylistic effect by two perfectly choreographed puppeteers; they almost seem to be conjuring spirits with their swooping and intricate motions. This is given the strength of a blockbuster with a contemporary classical score by three musicians who convey depth of feeling worthy of an entire orchestra.

Telemachus, Odysseus' son, is also given an excellent modern twist with contemporary technology weaved into the mix, which still leaves the most memorable parts of Homer's masterpiece untouched, such as Cyclops' island and the wrath of Poseidon. Athena's owl is an image frequently returned to as a silent indication of the tale unfolding, which is otherwise entirely free from narration or dialogue.

The most notable aspects of the Paper Cinema is its great movement and fluidity, a liveliness not easy to bring to cardboard cutouts. The performers are a crucial point of interest in the show and altogether hugely talented group. This is well and truly epic.

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.
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Performances

The Blurb

Raging storms and supernatural forces prevail over one man's almighty quest to get home. Homer’s cornerstone of literature is vividly told with beautiful illustration and masterful puppetry. A silent film is created before your eyes.

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