by Laura Kressly
Three beautiful women inhabit an island in the Mediterranean and sing so beautifully that any men who hear them are lured to their deaths on the rocky coast. This may be many modern women’s dream, but after a few thousand years in the same place, they’re not happy.
After arguing with Zeus that their story is always being narrated or painted by men, he banishes them to modern day Hastings. A madcap adventure to save their reputation from male interpretation ensues. Aided by D/deaf man Tobi, this devised play addresses big themes in an inclusive way, but is occasionally clumsy in the execution.
Female autonomy, representation, self-discovery and breaking free from society’s expectations of women all feature in the ambitious script. There’s also a good dose of patriarchy fighting and acceptance that would appeal to young people. Though not specifically a family show, it’s spunky and fun with a graphic novel aesthetic and approach to storytelling. There are moments where it feels like Zoo Co are trying to do too much, and another half an hour or so added to the running time wouldn’t go amiss.
All speech is captioned, BSL is heavily used and all performances are relaxed, giving the show a wonderfully welcoming feel. The DIY design style (with excellent projections) that could give the production an amateurish feel instead ties in with their inclusiveness. Joy underpins this carefully-crafted show and though a bit of narrative tidying would help a lot, that joy is fully infectious.
Sirens runs through 27 August.
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