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Echo
Presented by Theatre Elysium

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Reviewed: 2009-07-23 10:22:48
By: Leila Marston (primordialmuse@gmail.com)

Tiffany Markwart creates a beautiful tableau in Echo: an ethereal mountain nymph awash in cool light, long hair and long gown flowing, flowers at her feet, an empty, lonely bower behind her.  I wondered at first if it was this gorgeous picture that drew me in, rather than the story itself - but after a bit of a quiet, subdued start, the tale became more animated and fascinating.

This one-woman performance tells the tragic story of Echo, a nymph in love with words and sentenced to the worst fate possible: to repeat only the last words spoken to her.  The script was an interesting summary of Echo's myth, exploring its different variants and facets up to the present day.  I enjoyed the performer's expressiveness, loneliness and sadness alternating with moments of bubbling bright enthusiasm.  While I wanted to see a greater range of deep emotions, I did find the performer's slight reservedness to be unearthly and, well, nymph-like; her feelings were human, her aspect not quite so.

On the negative side, I was puzzled by the mix of Roman names (Jove, Juno, Neptune) with Greek names (Echo, Narcissus, Eros) in relating a Greek myth - especially because the Roman gods were related to, but not exactly the same as, their Greek counterparts.  (Juno, for example, was the highly-honoured patroness of marriage and fertility, and not nearly so associated with jealousy as the Greek Hera.)  The music choices were very appropriate, including the mournful song that Echo sings, but that song became a little repetitive in the end; perhaps one less round would have been more effective.

Overall, this is a subtle yet striking show, and recommended to anyone seeking a moving, memorable story.

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