‘Oedipus Electronica’ is a chilling retelling of Sophocles’ classic. Set in modern day London, Oedipus is no king and no beacon of morality who is selflessly trying to save a city from their woes, but instead he’s a troubled young man, abandoned at birth and fighting to survive by any means necessary.
His mother Jocasta and his father Laius play a far greater role than ever seen in the original story and their involvements are often harrowing. Their struggle to have a child and lives of secret plague themselves as they are both destined to suffer.
This telling is angry and it’s sad, gutturally taking you on this rollercoaster of pain and punishment. The cast are artists, not wasting a movement or a breath to create this dramatic allure that is impossible not to fixate upon. The lighting is crucial in adding to this visceral showcase of raw, unchecked emotion and the chorus are no longer the elders of Thebes but a phenomenal duo of musical geniuses who only prove to enhance every moment of the play.
The script is simply remarkable. Jocasta’s role has been taken and enhanced tenfold. She is no longer simply the mother of despair, but she has been raised to a level of divinity. The original play teases Oedipus with his powerlessness to change his prophetic future as chosen by the gods, but here, it’s Jocasta. She’s a writer who is inspired by the story of Oedipus but the more she writes the more she dooms her helpless son and everyone around him.
The play is tense and it’s meta – not afraid to break the fourth wall. Knowing the ending before you begin creates an element of fear for every graphic event before it comes. The realisation and conclusion are objectively horrible but artistically beautiful, no one dares look away.
Bringing classics into modernity are often hit or miss but the Pecho Mama group have created a telling that is so euphorically troubling that it could never fail. You will inevitably leave feeling like you’ve been slapped across the face but that is purely credit to a simply fantastic show.
15:30 at Pleasance Courtyard
August 18 – 26