The goddess Athena wreaks havoc on a Greek island in this eccentric new play
Pay attention, class – this new play from Greg Freeman might just pull the rug from under you. Lanky romantic Eric (Ben Warwick) has decamped to a Greek island in order to finally write that novel. He shares the beach with ghostwriter pal Bethany (Fliss Walton) and her subject Travis (Tobias Deacon), someone who represents the absolute worst of humankind. He’s a vacuous reality TV star who wears vests and measures his self-worth in Instagram likes, and happily admits that his greatest ambition in life is to get a selfie with an alien (he’s also Welsh, which is obviously neither here nor there).
But what kicks off as an ultra-accessible odd-trio sitcom quickly turns into something far more complex. The Greek god of war Athena (Sophia Hannides) turns up, souls swap between bodies (resulting in some impressive accent-juggling from the cast) and there’s a hell of a lot of chat about Greek mythology. Suddenly, this isn’t a play about how social media turns us all into total dickheads, it’s about the fundamental natures of fantasy and reality.
‘Empty Vessels’ offers an engaging angle on some fairly deep shit, but somewhere amid the philosophical posers the fun gets a little smothered. It’s a bit like watching one of those videos the teacher used to wheel out on the last day of term – it’s a laugh at first, but you can’t shake the feeling it’s all a cunning ruse to force you to confront something more significant.