Monday, 9 June 2014

Omeros - last performance tonight!

THE Caribbean comes to the intimate candlelit Jacobean Sam Wanamaker Theatre on Bankside courtesy of a stage adaptation of Derek Walcott’s epic poem Omeros.On for just a limited period of four performances, Walcott's piece is inspired by Homer's Illiad and focuses on a village community in his native St Lucia.
It is not a retelling of Homer's great work but an original piece of beautiful story-telling.
This production, put on by The Globe and Lakeside Theatre is performed by just two actors, Jade Anouka and Joseph Marcell, who between them take on all the characters who make up the piece.
The narrative jumps around a bit between the characters but essentially there are three strands to the story that criss cross throughout.
Firstly that of fishermen Achille and Hector who are rivals in the love for the beautiful Helen. The second is that of retired English officer Major Plunkett and his wife Maud for whom Helen is housemaid. The final strand is Walcott's autobiographical narrative.
Other characters who feature in and around these plots include Philoctete who has a festering wound which is cured by a woman in the No Pain Cafe using an old African remedy and a blind man known as Seven Seas.
Given the tiny stage there are next to no props - only a chair, a scarf, a cane and a crate are used - but the actors are skilled enough to bring the story to life without the need for anything else.
They are ably supported by Tayo Akinbode, who from the cosy confines of the upper gallery at the back of the stage, plays a variety of instruments which contribute to the atmosphere of the piece - as well as providing the sounds to conjure up images of the sea, the crashing waves, the rain, the cobbles, the dancing and the insects.
It is an incredible production - warm, funny, poignant and beautifully acted - and evocative in the candlelit setting. A must see.

Omeros is on at the Sam Wanamker Theatre, Bankside until Monday, June 9. Tickets from £10. Visit or call the box office on 020 7401 9919.

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