zounds! (2 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Andrew Eaton

Inconsistent but promising update on the Greek gods

Floor Five Theatre have many of the archetypal qualities of young companies visiting the Fringe: a show with a strong idea that modernises familiar content, a large cast of variable ability and a show that is patchy, funny, sometimes smart but too long. They are the life-blood of the Fringe and, despite the ultimately disappointing script and direction, zounds! shows elements of promise.

Taking the ancient Greek gods and updating them, writer Veronika Gribanova generates twelve archetypes that sometimes reflect their sources – Zeus has a suave modern leadership paternalism, Hades has a sexual take on the underworld, Apollo and Artemis as stoners are less convincing – but operate as a metaphysical soap opera. Despite touching on weightier theology, the plot degenerates into a farce, while the gods struggle to find a place in a changing human society.

Using the Trojan War as a template, there are changes made to Homer's classical narrative, which are usually for plot purposes. Athena is in love with Achilles, Aphrodite with Helen, but these adaptations don't uncover new interpretations but throw in a few moments of farce.

There's a lack of precision in the direction, and a failure to capitalise on a strong concept: the cast have fun, and there are episodes of hilarity and touches of a more thoughtful and provocative approach. But it is archetypal Fringe fare: occasionally brilliant, sometimes moribund but developed with an optimism and lack of cynicism that sadly doesn't translate into consistency.

The Space @ Surgeons Hall, run ended.


  • 2 stars

Floor Five Theatre Company zounds! is a comedy about the Greek gods during the Trojan War, set in the present. In the ninth year, when Aphrodite is injured in battle, Zeus puts the gods under house arrest on Mount Olympus. If the Greeks and Trojans think the war is hard, it's because they've never been locked in with…