Last night we were back at Derby Theatre for Penelope Retold - Caroline Horton's one-woman dramatisation of the life of Penelope, the wife Odysseus left behind when he went off to the Trojan War. This was first performed alongside the Derby Theatre production of The Odyssey last year but I never got round to seeing it at the time so was delighted to see it back for two nights.
It all felt a little cloak and dagger as the audience assembled in the main theatre foyer and then was escorted downstairs and across the car park to a secret door leading to the Studio - what we didn't realise as we filed into our seats was that Caroline was already in place on 'stage', in the bed, the one Odysseus made from a live tree, that took up most of the performance space.
It might all sound a little quirky but the performance itself was spellbinding. Horton took Penelope's story from the Greek myth, mixed it with input from present day military spouses, added in a little audience participation, and brought it wonderfully to life. We shared the highs - partying at her wedding - the lows - as Odysseus left her for war (again) - and the determined cheerful face she showed the world. I just wish it could have lasted longer than 50 minutes!