Sirens (3 stars)

This article is from 2018


credit: Yoona Park

An introduction to a new way of reading the past

Zoo Co's inclusivity is a valuable corrective to the Fringe's often empty boasts: Sirens announces its 'relaxed' performance, encouraging the audience not to obey the expected rules of engagement, and to feel free to move about, leave, even talk. With surtitles and an emphasis on expressive movement interludes to carry the story of three mythical women attempting to correct misogynistic lies told about them, and the integration of a musical number introducing sign-language, the company challenges the lip-service paid to accessibility.

The story is told in a playful, straight-forward manner: the sirens of Greek myth are transplanted to the present, discovering that they are the victims of negative poetry. The adventure, removal of a book from display that perpetuates their poor public image, is a rudimentary excuse for the performers to riff on themes of patriarchal oppression, gender identity and, in their friendship with a modern male, various contemporary oppressions.

The enthusiasm to cover a range of social justice issues at times makes their politics perfunctory, and the dramaturgy aims for clarity rather than depth; grappling with a fundamental patriarchal myth of the femme fatale, their response is cheeky rather than comprehensive.Yet their enthusiasm and sincerity push the narrative along to its positive conclusions.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 13, 20), 3.35pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).


  • 3 stars

Zoo Co You're an immortal demi-goddess whose only job is to sing and look beautiful. No, this isn't a show about Beyoncé. Three Greek sirens find themselves washed up on Hastings beach. It's 2018, and sitting around naked on rocks is no longer en vogue. But the sirens are still cursed: any man who hears their voice dies…