Eurydice By Sarah Ruhl (The Theatre) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Eurydice By Sarah Ruhl is a modern re-telling of the Orpheus myth focusing on Eurydice, his dead wife. In the classical myth, Orpheus, the greatest musician alive, follows Eurydice into Hades in an attempt to bring her to life. This version remains true to that plot, with a bit of a twist. It is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille for the duration of the festival.

The play was modernized without placing it in any particular time period. For instance, Orpheus (Justin Rutledge) was a rock star – whose music was fantastic, by the way – and cars and elevators were mentioned, but nothing so topical that you could place a time. I enjoyed this choice, as it brought a timeless myth up-to-date while still keeping it timeless.

The performances were, for the most part, outstanding. Jesse Aaron Dwyre as the “Nasty Interesting Man/Lord of the Underworld” was an appropriate mix of charming and unnerving, which is a hard thing to pull off. Hardee T. Lineham as the Father was amazing, and his sweet and sad relationship with his daughter Eurydice (Caitlin B. Driscoll) made me tear up a bit.

I found the “Chorus of Stones” to be a tad off-putting, however. While I appreciate that including a chorus is a throw-back to the myth’s classical Greek roots – for those who don’t know, early Greek plays always included a chorus – I found that their actions and comments detracted from the rest of the story. It was well done, but I found that I wanted to get back to Eurydice’s story.

Eurydice By Sarah Ruhl is a sweet and sad tale of love, between husband and wife and between father and daughter. I highly recommend it.

Details:

Eurydice By Sarah Ruhl is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, near Queen and Bathurst
– Playing Aug. 8 at 5:30pm, Aug. 10 at 8pm, Aug. 12 at 10:30pm, Aug. 13 at 12:30pm
– All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 show