Pandora: A Tragicomic Greek Romp features Pandora, the Greek gods’ gift to mankind and Nikodemos, a prolific but not always successful inventor in ancient Greece. What a shame that he never got around to inventing scissors or an editor’s blue pencil because a funny premise is weakened by the length and repetitiveness of the script.
According to myth, Zeus and the gods endow Pandora with many gifts and then send her to Earth with a box containing all sorts of evils to punish mankind for receiving the stolen gift of fire from Prometheus. This Pandora (Madeline Whiting) is endowed with beauty and strength, but is lacking mental and emotional development. For example, she thinks sand might be food and is unsure when the use of force is justified.
Nikodemos (Jayme Bell) finds Pandora and takes her into his home where he lives with his younger brother Philo (Natalie Pyle). The presence of the winsome young woman in Niko’s home is upsetting to Eris (Katie Jeffries), the woman his late parents had arranged to be his fiancée.
The production benefits greatly from the enormously appealing performance of Whiting as Pandora. However, only she and Pyle manage to give their characters any real depth that earns audience empathy.
The problem is that the play is written with silly, farcical humor. It’s true that the production has many funny moments as a result of comic lines and some occasionally inspired staging and physical business.
Unfortunately, it is hard to sustain that style of broad humor and the production loses energy over its one act, one hour and forty-three minutes . Further, many of the sources of humor, such as Niko’s wacky inventions or the fact that Megas (Matt Sparacino) is strong but dumb, are overdone .
Pandora: A Tragicomic Greek Romp is a pleasing choice for Fringegoers seeking some laughs. The show may, however, make you long for last year’s superior production from Impressionable Players, Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending.
Pandora: A Tragicomic Greek Romp has 4 more performances in the Mead Theatre at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW, Washington, DC.
Steven rates this 3 out of 5
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