11 Jan 2024

Anthony Harper Summer Theatre’s The Odyssey will have its debut tonight, with the season running from 11–28 January.

Director and playwright Dan Bain says the comedy is a hilarious, theatrical take on one of the greatest pieces of western literature – Odyssey by ancient poet Homer – and that people will know more of the story than they think they do.

“Everyone I talk to about it goes, ‘Oh, is that where that story comes from? I didn’t realise!” he says.

“An energetic war scene at Troy kickstarts the action, with the Trojan Horse securing victory for Odysseus, King of Ithaca, and his men. The rest of the play is the group trying to get home – to no avail – it takes 10 years and a whole lot of crazy happens. So, we have a lot of fun with the outrageous mythological characters and hectic plot twists along the way.”

Three actors will bring the outdoor play to life, all described by Mr Bain as “incredibly high-skill, high-charisma comedy machines.”

The director himself is also a comic force, having led The Court Theatre’s Court Jesters for seven years as Artistic Director, with countless other performing, directing, and playwrighting credits to his name.

“I began my career as a street performer, so I love the come-one, come-all nature of outdoor performance, and how face-to-face you get to be with the audience,” Mr Bain says.

The Odyssey is being staged at the Botanic Gardens’ Weather Station Lawn, from 11–28 January. Evening shows start at 6.30pm, Thursday to Sunday, and the weekend matinee shows begin at 2.30pm, with a running time of two hours.

Audience members are welcome to bring their own deck chairs or picnic rugs to sit on, and are encouraged to bring a koha donation for the performing theatre company, Noosed Octopus.

See the full performance schedule for Anthony Harper Summer Theatre at What’s On