By Pecho Mama
As the title suggests – Oedipus Electronica is a modern-day, gig-theatre take on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. It is more than just a simple retelling of the story – kills his dad, shags his mum – in a contemporary context, though. It is a gripping gut-punch of a show, blending drama, dance and music. It is both entirely original and true to the tragedy of its ancient antecedent.
Jo (Mella Faye, who also directs and designs) is a playwright, struggling with a commission. Lai (Kwame Bentil) is her husband. Somewhere – perhaps in Jo’s head, perhaps on the streets of London – their long-lost son Oedi (Ryan David Harston) is in deep trouble with a dangerous drug dealer.
Over 75 minutes their worlds collide, as myth dictates they must. Maybe it is real, maybe it is just dictated by Jo’s tap-tapping at her laptop after inspiration strikes, maybe it is driven by the pulsating score – played live by Don Bird on drums and Alex Stanford on keys – that accompanies her typing. Maybe Oedi is happy to play along. Maybe he wants to write his own story instead.
Under Tanya Stephenson’s and Clare O’Donoghue’s stark, strobe-y lighting on Faye’s scaffold of a set, Oedipus Electronica emerges as both a thrilling tale of crime and passion and a thought-provoking exploration of authorship and autonomy.
In 2016, band-cum-theatre-company Pecho Mama had a hit with Medea Electronica, a contemporary, musical interpretation of the ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides. Now, the group repeats the feat.
This performance is brought to the University of Essex as part of the 30th Anniversary Celebrations of the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies.
Pecho Mama is a collaboration of world class creatives, led by Artistic Director Mella Faye.
Together, they trample the boundaries between theatre and live music, in order to make work that is raw, savage, beautiful and challenging.
Pecho Mama exploded onto the theatre scene in 2018 with their bold, imaginative and genre defying debut, Medea Electronica, touring the UK, Peru, Bucharest and France.
★★★★★ ‘Enviable, the meticulous stagecraft at work within performer, writer, and director Mella Faye’s mind – the visceral and breathtakingly sublime execution of both written language and music.’ – REVIEWS HUB
★★★★★ ‘Passion, fury, tension and undeniable skill. A truly breath-taking theatrical experience’ – CULTURE FIX
75 minutes, no interval