Sirens review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘fun feminist shake-up of classical mythology’
Hastings, 2018, and three glitter-covered women (Rosalind Hoy, Florence O’Mahony and Fleur Rooth) wash up on the beach. “Oi oi!” shouts a local lad, before promptly plunging to his death on hearing their reply.
Zoo Co’s rewriting of the myth of the sirens is an enjoyably silly foray into reclaiming narratives that sits somewhere between a spoof of Raiders of the Lost Ark and a Mary Beard lecture.
All the performances are relaxed as standard and fully captioned. The integrated sign language, however, is not just for the audience. It’s also an integral part of the plot, with Tobi (Jamal Ajala) the only man originally thought immune to the curse of hearing the sirens’ voices.
The women’s quest is to steal the book containing their tale from an Ancient Greece exhibition. But this is more than an anti-Homer polemic. Sirens also touches on the need to rewrite the stories of many people – not just women. It hits the rocks in a few places, becoming a bit predictable with the jokes or obscure in a few of the choreographed sequences. But on the whole, the show is funny, energetic and rocks the double denim. Just don’t call them mermaids.