Eurydice, at The Young Vic – TNT theatre review

Initially beguiling, American playwright Sarah Ruhl’s updating of the Greek
myth of Orpheus in the underworld loses focus early on and fails to live up
to the likeable charm displayed in its opening scene.

In source versions, the emphasis is on Orpheus, the poet and musician who is
given a single chance to descend into Hades and reclaim the bride he lost on
their wedding day.

Ruhl, however, focuses more on Eurydice, creating a dead
father (Geff Francis) who writes to her from beyond the grave.
Bijan Sheibani’s playful production first has the young lovers frolicking,
in goggles and swimwear, at the edge of the sea. A proposal and a wedding
party swiftly follow, but with the lure of a letter from her father, a
“Nasty Interesting Man” entices Eurydice to his high rise apartment and a
sudden fall to her death.

With a chorus of disapproving Stones (Big, Little and Loud), worms seemingly
operating a postmortem postal service between this world and the next, and
water cascading from above and bubbling from below, there should be enough
in this tale of loss to easily sustain its comparatively short running time.

But amiable though the leads are (Osi Okerafor’s leggy Orpheus who hears
music in the depths of his soul and Ony Uhiara’s wide-eyed Eurydice with her
passion for books) this patchy analysis of young womanhood caught between
paternal and husbandly loves proves dramatically whimsical and emotionally

» Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ (Tube Southwark / Waterloo)
0207 922 2922
Till 5th June
£17.50 under 26’s £10

Louise Kingsley