Having seen Fuerzabruta, the Master and Margarita and Siro-A as well as countless improv shows at the UCB theatre in New York in the past two months, my capacity to be wowed is almost at its limits. So I was pretty skeptical going to the see the Paper Cinema’s take on the Odyssey, solely on the recommendation of a good friend.
Fortunately one of my favourite things is to be proven wrong (second only to being proven right) and their lofi (yet hi-tech) recreation of Homer’s Odyssey was nothing short of delightful. The wonderful mix of light and sound make for incredible “live animation” that somehow manages to be ramshackle and homemade yet breathtakingly cinematic all at the same time. What starts off as a pleasingly whimsical gimmick rapidly becomes moving and engaging and I was drawn into the world of the story. There are some amazingly clever lofi effects on display here but carefully deployed to enhance what’s going on rather than theatrical showboating.
Competing for your attention is the nimble trio that comprise the live orchestra. Deftly switching between pianos, violins, drums, guitars and saws they create a richly evocative soundtrack (with effects) that is fun to watch and available to buy on bandcamp.
I left beaming and with the same buzz I have from seeing Michel Gondry’s best work (the playful spirit of Be Kind Rewind is very much alive here).
The Paper Cinema’s the Odyssey is play at the Battersea Arts Centre in London for at least another week (I’m writing this at the beginning of March) and I highly recommend you book tickets.