Leeds Playhouse – until 15 October 2022
Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood
Leeds Playhouse and Opera North jointly brings this production, Orpheus in the Record Shop, to the Playhouse. Running for three nights Testament, an acclaimed rapper, playwright, and beatboxer, brings this live on stage after it being previously filmed for BBC Four’s Lights Up, a virtual theatre festival that took place during lockdown in 2021.
Testament who portrays Orpheus takes one on an aural and visual personal journey. A record shop owner and loner, he takes pride in his vinyl records and plays tunes that resonates his journey past, present and an uncertain future. Following a friend’s visit, unexpected and strange things happen as he goes on a mythical, musical, and realistic journey, a similar vein to Orpheus, and searches something that is eclectically filled with hopes and dreams.
Inspiration sought from the Greek myth of Orpheus who had took on a similar journey and had faced similar predicaments. In parallel to Orpheus’ music of the Sirens, Orpheus (Testament) fuses spoken dialogue, rap, beatboxing with song and classical music, courtesy of Opera North’s chorus and orchestra. Supported with incredible and ambient staging, lighting, and soundscapes, created by Aletta Collins, Chris Davey and Hazel Plummer, Orpheus in the Record Shop certainly transports one into this journalistic world.
Originally directed by Collins and revived by Amy Leach, Orpheus in the Record Shop is a short moving entertaining production which Testament legendarily tells and performs with an eclectic musical arrangement.