Haunting, heartfelt, and healing: Reviewing Eidolon

Jam Greenland 27 January 2022
Image Credit: Sieve Bonauti

Eidolon is the found family story of Þjórsá, our grudging hero, and Sasha, a whimsical jester, and their journey through a folkloric dream forest to face their literal and metaphorical demons.

The particular strength of this play was Sieve Bonaiuti’s writing in creating a patchwork of different stories – Þjórsá’s coming to terms with his past, Sasha’s finding of a community and Penelope’s quest – that come together wonderfully. The imagery they used in exploring memory, loneliness, and grief was so beautiful, but was juxtaposed well with comedic moments that cemented the characters’ rapport and unity.

I really liked how the growing physical interaction mirrored the growth of their friendship

Bonaiuti’s text was brought to life brilliantly by Val Gladkova (Þjórsá), Diego Matos (Sasha), Cody Knight (Penelope), and Ben Ward, Harry Dixon-Spain, and Linnea Tyback (the Creatures). Gladkova was the lynchpin of this performance due to their excellent range in showing both the anger and yearning at the heart of Þjórsá’s journey and depicting his character development and the dropping of his facade so well. This developing vulnerability was also illustrated through the relationship between Þjórsá and Sasha; there could have been a bit more chemistry between Gladkova and Matos, however I really liked how the growing physical interaction mirrored the growth of their friendship. Although it felt a little lacking in energy in some places which potentially hindered the range he was able to show, Matos’ embodiment of Sasha was spot-on to their personality and provided some much needed comic relief in the right moments. Knight’s performance as Penelope was also noteworthy in her earnest portrayal of both frustration and optimism, and how well she complemented Gladkova and Matos’ dynamic later in the show. Another element I particularly enjoyed was Ward, Dixon-Spain and Tyback’s presentation of the Creatures, as they worked so well as a cohesive unit to thoroughly unsettle the audience, especially due to the makeup worn by each.

I loved how the stage was used to highlight the blurring between fiction and reality

Eidolon’s production value cannot be understated; the set, designed by Kacper Rybinski, although minimalist, was so atmospheric that I was immediately drawn into the play’s world from the moment I stepped into the auditorium. Additionally, I loved how the stage was used to highlight the blurring between fiction and reality, especially in the moment where Sasha illustrated falling off the world by gesturing off the edge of the stage. The costumes were also effective in representing each character’s different personality – in particular, Sasha’s jester costume – but also indicating them all to be part of the same world.

When I first saw the description of Eidolon, I felt equal parts curious and confused by its nebulous premise, however, despite feeling no less confused as I left the theatre, the sense of peace and tranquillity the show left me with will stay with me after the curtain fell.

3.5/5

Eidolon will be running until Saturday 29th January at 11pm in the ADC Theatre. Tickets can be found here: https://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/play/eidolon/