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Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue: The Oresteia
The Baldacchino at Fort Fringe
Thursday, July 24 @ 6:30 PM
Friday, July 25 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 26 @ 2:00 PM
They say: “If the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus had gone on tour with Led Zeppelin, Woody Guthrie and a carnie troup, this is what he would have written. A tale of blood, guts and vengeance, Aeschylus’s Oresteia, re-charged. Rowdy, raucous, loud and literate: Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue presents The Oresteia.”
Trey’s take: Pretty much as advertised: Mostly raucous, intermittently musical, almost always fun. (And I’m on record as believing that brand-new Oresteia adaptations aren’t strictly necessary, so from me, “fun” is saying something.)
I had my doubts, too: Could the Revue crew really get through all three of the House of Atreus plays in the advertised 70 minutes? Turns out I’d underestimated the summarizing power of, for instance, the tart shorthand with which a vengeful Elektra, plotting the death of her marricide mother Clytaemnestra, sums up her thoughts about the long-banished brother she hopes will return to deliver the vengeful blow: “I hope he’s not a pussy.”
Also efficient: The stained-glass bluegrass choral number in which Elektra and her fundamentalist libation bearers pray piously for “the death of that vile whore.”
For what’s essentially a fast-moving, one-wiseass-after-another lark, the adaptation spends perhaps too much time trying to get inside its characters’ heads — to explain Orestes’ biddable nature, for instance. But there’s juggling, a certain amount of hand-walking, and just when you think it couldn’t get much more vaudeville, on strolls an accordionista — in a tutu, unless I misremember.
Audience participation is encouraged, which last week inspired the peanut gallery to contribute the observation that Helen of Troy was an “unfaithful bitch,” and the inevitable postmodern irony raises its head when Clytaemnestra, strapped lusciously into a velvet-patchwork bustier, heaves a put-upon sigh: “All the men in my life turn out to be such disappointments.
See it if: Mention of the vengeful Furies and the cultural norms they enforce always made you want to write a driving punk anthem revolving chiefly around the lyrics “Don’t be an asshole.”
Skip it if: You think the classics shouldn’t be performed unless they’ve been properly embalmed; the rousing Up With People homage in which the goddess Diana Athena restores harmony and invents the civil justice system might just send you over the edge.