Review: Achilles

Company of Wolves
Summerhall – until August 26th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

Ewan Downie, who writes and performs in this rendition of Achilles, is certainly a strong performer. For an hour, his voice and energy fills the entire studio as he recounts the story of arguably the greatest hero in Ancient Greece. Going solo, his body lifts and collapses as he weaves through the bloody battlefields, and his voice reverberates every time it sings a hymn. With minimal lighting changes, no sound effects and a bare space, Downie has nothing to offer besides himself, and he gives it everything he has.

However, the story gets bulldozed from start to finish with this eagerness. Despite vivid imagery, which makes the script seem much more fitting for a radio play or a novel than a staged performance, Downie does not ground the world of the play at the start when he describes ancient Troy, and as such time is spent trying to catch up with the story rather than presently following the action. Perhaps the story needs more shape and less description. Maybe it just needs to be shared and not displayed. Whatever it is, Downie has what it takes to deliver a performance driven by sincerity and heart, rather than technique and evenly paced plot points.