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Beowulf
Presented by Off the Books

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Reviewed: 2007-07-25 21:33:47
By: Leila Marston (primordialmuse@gmail.com)

There's no dignified way to describe my reaction to this show, so here it is: For the rest of the night, I'd occasionally take out my program to look at it and giggle "tee hee!" before replacing it carefully in my Fringe booklet.  What an awesome, polished piece of theatre!

Off the Books' Beowulf is a magnificent blending of ancient and modern.  The lilting recited poetry, the dramatic storytelling, the percussion perfectly punctuating moments of speech and action, all of these evoke the rich Anglo-Saxon oral tradition of Beowulf's time; on the other hand, the powerful, fast-paced fight scenes and minimalist props and scenery are distinctly modern.  All of these elements work brilliantly together.  I cannot even imagine how hard this cast must have worked to pull off such a unified, tight performance, or how much research went into the script - the show seems to combine the plot of the old Beowulf with more modern sources (a few scenes were reminiscent of the novel Grendel) to create a more elabourate, thought-provoking tale than the original.  The actors rise to the archetypal dignity that their roles demand, and their articulate, energetic performances are not to be missed.

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