The Odyssey – Missing Presumed Dead by Simon Armitage

Credit: Gary Calton

The world premiere of Simon Armitage’s play took place at Liverpool’s Everyman theatre and us lucky members of the press were treated to a jolly nice meal beforehand to highlight the Everyman Bistro’s new Autumn/Winter menu – the Cottage Pie is gorgeous and the enormous Chocolate Brownie with ice cream was nothing short of stunning.

But on to the play; it’s a modern twist on Homer’s epic that sees a government minister Smith going missing in Istanbul as he is implicated in a bar-room brawl and overnight becomes Europe’s most wanted man. Colin Tierney plays Smith/Odysseus who is pursued across Europe as he trys deperately with his two companions to get home. Smith’s son Magnus reads The Odyssey and his missing father is imagined as Homer’s hero encountering the Cyclops, sirens et al.

There is a strong ensemble cast supporting Tierney and Simon Dutton as the cynical, xenophobic Prime Minister and as the Cyclops particularly stands out.

This is a cleverly done and very timely piece with strong resonances with the current refugee crisis and Nick Bagnall’s direction is spot on. At 2 hours 20 minutes this play isn’t short but it’s well-paced and demands your attention throughout.

The Odyssey – Missing Presumed Dead is at the Everyman until October 17 and then embarks on a national tour.