THEATRE: The Telemachy at Camden Fringe
Written by: Victoria Highfield
Where is it?
At Etcetera Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe. This is upstairs in the Oxford Arms pub on the High Street, mere minute’s walk from Camden Town tube stop.
What is it?
The Telemachy, written by Alexander Day and directed by the talented Milla Jackson (whom I was lucky enough to meet) delivers an inimitable modern day take on Homer’s Odyssey. A travelling poet (Arman Mantella) relays the Greek classic from the perspective of a young and brooding Telemachus (son of Odysseus, the original rock and roll absent father!)
Do you need to have read the Odyssey?
This is what I wished someone had asked me. I’m not going to sugar coat it; it does help if you have read the original or at least have some sort of understanding of it. However, don’t fret if you’re not the biggest Classics babe as, despite reading Homer’s poem in college many years ago, I’m not ashamed to admit that I did pay spark notes a visit before watching the play – it did the trick just like always!
It’s an untypically gorgeous summers day in Camden and unfortunately not the ideal time to be sitting inside a small, dark theatre *sobs dramatically*.
And this regrettably shows in the low turnout for the new one-man show. I fear the rest of the audience are thinking the same as me; that they’d rather be sat downstairs in the pub garden with a pint and a packet of scampi fries! So it’s no surprise, despite disappointing, that when the doors finally close there are a mere 8 people in the ‘crowd’.
However, there isn’t time to dwell on the lack of tanning opportunity or audience, when in swaggers our story’s protagonist; the handsome, hippy and dare I say a little drunk Telemachus. What? He does worship the god of wine after all! Armed with an embellished suitcase from his travels across the ancient world. He’s bringing a famous story about you, and me, and all of us. Quirky Telemachus plays up to his intimate audience. He immediately draws me in with this line: “Sometimes I hope you don’t come because you don’t need to hear it anymore,” he says,
Telemachus is on a journey to find his father missing for over 20 years whom some presume has been killed in the Trojan war. In that time, it is clear he needs to ‘be a real man’ and help keep his family’s legacy intact by protecting his mother Penelope from thousands of undesirable and equally sexist older suitors. Day’s modern perspective allows Telemachus to digress into the pressures young people face today – can you live up to your parents in the current world or do you even want to? It made me think of today’s ‘Peter-Pan’ generation, living in the shadows of the baby boomers, which lets face is pretty much all of us! Day also opened up the fresh wound of the crushing EU referendum verdict. I winced as a story was told of a younger generation crippled by the old that will never live to see the impact of their decisions, only in this case it’s a reality.
Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘Woah this all seems a bit intense, I thought the Camden Fringe was supposed to showcase comedy!?’ Don’t fret, these serious issues are told through rebellious jokes and tongue in cheek gags as Telemachus captivates his audience and encourages them to laugh along with him. With humour he mimics characters that mock the young and this is met with roars of laughter:
Two poor blokes in the front row were even made to take a swig of his wine – much to the enjoyment of the rest of us – although maybe not to everyone’s taste. As Telemachus darts energetically around the room, swearing heavily whilst seeking guidance from his “muse” he proves he can play serious and comedy almost effortlessly.
The lone storyteller concludes with a pensive thought, “Everything is changing. It’s not like it used to be. There are no rules anymore. The Greeks believed that the world came out of chaos – and sometimes, sometimes it feels like that’s where we’re headed again [but] from this chaos, here’s hoping”.
For me it’s a case of history repeating itself like a ten-thousand-year old Chinese whisper. The play is only an hour long, yet it feels shorter. As I walked out of the theatre feeling hopeful I realised that The Telemachy had left my glass half full and not half empty. A unique, thought-provoking and humorous work, it was a performance I enjoyed and would even recommend missing the sun for, which is high praise from me.
Photography by Julient Avant, who is also a co-founder of the theatre company with Milla.
The Telemachy run at Etcetera Theatre has now finished, but will be at Edinburgh Fringe from 22nd – 27th August at Greenside, Infirmary Street (Venue 236), 6 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT .
Our exclusive meeting with Eroc: the Beyonce of the skateboarding dog world. Eroc the french bulldog is making waves. With fans like Tony Hawk, BBC Radio and over 30k followers on Instagram (and counting), Eroc has also become something of an online sensation. His viral status comes and goes, randomly popping up on online social media channels every now and again to generate hundreds of thousands of views and clicks via the likes of Buzzfeed, Time Out and rogue iPhone filmers.
We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!” These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object. It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.
This Friday sees the release of Malian master musicians, Trio Da Kali’s new album Ladilikan. Fusing rich, expressive vocals with traditional instruments like the balafon and bass ngoni, this is a beautiful mix of ancient Mande culture and contemporary Malian sounds. Luckily for us North Londoners, we have the opportunity to see the trio play live in the rather fitting ethereal surrounds of Stoke Newington Church next month.
Walking along Monsell Road in Finsbury Park, we spy the charming exterior of a shop looking like something out of a children’s book circa 1932. Beneath a green and white striped awning, a whimsical new world of mini animals awaits. Once inside we stumble about the store in hushed awe, reaching over a book of minuscule carpet samples/ family of miniature otters to tap a tiny bell.
Whether you’re looking for something to entertain your kids, your friends’ kids or that particularly large man child in your life, you might just have lucked out. Snug are hosting an open air screening of The Incredibles next Saturday evening. There will be tasty sourdough pizzas from Sodo Pizza (Upper Clapton) and ultimate authentic curries from Rice n Spice, Northwold Road.
Coming soon to a Tufnell Park near you is a whole new vegetable patch of delights / wheat field to run vicariously through. It’s time to get excited for Ceremony: a brand new bar/restaurant serving modern British veggie cuisine. Although the website remains tantalisingly mysterious, you can glean more info from their well stocked insta.
Sound baths, pit parties, fake cheese and nipples, these are a few of our favourite things, said no one ever. Bored of drinking down the pub every evening? Unlikely, but bare with me. Sometimes you just want to let down your hair, shake it off and do something down right odd of an evening... followed by a pint at the pub.
It’s been a few months since the last instalment of Online vs Offline. I deleted Bumble, Happn and Tinder, flirted with the idea of match.com, went to a friend’s wedding, heard the vicar call my name instead of the Bride’s and reflected briefly on the crushing inevitability of my own spinsterhood before realising everyone was laughing in the pews and I should probably join them.
Gluten-free cake consumers, vegan cheese enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of pies and drinkers of tea; your time is now. Buy food of a quality & variety you can’t easily find in the shops, from organic meat to vegan cheese, fish caught that morning to pickles which have been fermenting for months, at Stroud Green market.
Who’s up for free entry, free cake and free folk (except for a jaunty little hat that is passed around for donations)? Get down to The Finsbury this Wednesday eve for a little mid week hootenanny and celebrate some of the best in new live music from the ‘acoustic, singer-songwriter & indie-folk scene’. Host with the most, Zoe Konez (“Ridiculously talented, Konez handles her guitar like she was born with it” - For Folk's Sake) will be deftly introducing each act from gin soaked folk popster herself, Penniless Cove to German indie band, Kalon.
What if you could mix the joys of your local Sunday car boot and all it’s dog perving potential with your favourite vintage clothes shops and high end antique markets? Within the sparkling depths of Dalson’s former ABC cinema, you’ll find The Big London Flea: London’s largest indoor vintage market.
Well, last Saturday morning gym memberships gave way to lie-ins and sleep finally bowed down to some serious carb cravings. Finding ourselves at Oslo later that morning, it was a case of hangover meets diet, salmon vs chorizo. If you’re not feeling too peckish, Oslo isn’t the place for you.
Joni Belaruski’s following has accompanied the artist from her Northern Irish roots and drummer beginnings with punk folk favourites, The Great Malarkey, to a plethora of London gallery shows. This September sees the painter join photographer Karla da Silva at The Beaucatcher Salon with new show, Jupiter Waiting For The Moon. Belaruski's paintings are at times dark and playful, while da Silva’s dreamy imagery is other worldly, creating both mystical landscapes and colourful smoke-filled portraiture.
Get your glad rags on darlings. It’s time for a happening in Dalston. Farrs School of Dancing are recreating Andy Warhol’s Factory next Sunday with live performances, music, films and.. well, not quite silk screening but some good old school colouring-in to get stuck into. This is your chance to finally wear that suede fringe bolero and feather boa combo you gleamed from Crisis last October. The best dressed will receive their fifteen minutes of fame, in true Warholian screen test style.
Until five minutes ago I would’ve believed Pet Nat was a holistic dog food brand / veterinary business in Wood Green. I’m half right actually*, but in the boozios world it’s a fizzy wine. Pétillant Naturel is light and fizzy, usually pretty low on the alcohol scale and rather sweet. Think the opposite of a dry red wine.
As part of our Beyond The Binary series we asked stars of the upcoming Come As You Are Festival which gender specific expressions that really grind their gears. We started with Man Up! whose first answer came from the title of their show.