“All I know is that I know nothing“.
Last night I had the pleasure of witnessing the great Greek philosopher Socrates oversee a heated debate between reason and persuasion.
Of course I wasn’t actually watching the real Socrates (although Alexander Andreou’s charmingly Topol-like performance was extremely convincing). I was in fact down at the Jermyn Street Theatre, being treated to a wonderfully theatrical performance of Socrates and His Clouds by award-winning playright William Lyons.
Talented director (and fellow Greek) Melina Theocharidou and her team breathe new life into the play setting it against a delightful musical score by Olivios Karaolides and bringing charm, wit and warmth to the text.
Set in debt-ridden Greece, the story follows ruined brick-layer Strepsiades (played brilliantly by Paul Hutton) who sends his wayward, arrogant son Phidippides (a charmingly loathsome Jack Montgomery) to Socrates’ Academy in the hope that he “will make some money” and free them from their financial hell.
Instead, Phidippides sends them both into further turmoil, misinterpreting Socrates’ thought-provoking words and driving his father to despair.
Elements of classic Greek theatre can be seen through the pitch-perfect musical performances of Riana Athanasiou, Lucyelle Cliffe and Rahil Liapopoulou as The Chorus/The Fates and the simple, yet effective set design by Katerina Angelopoulou lends itself well to the production, reinforcing the stripped and desolate economic state that the characters find themselves in.
The show offers a unique mix of satire, song and philosophy and Melina’s direction combines all three beautifully. Whether you are a fan of Socrates or not, this is one production that should not be missed.
Socrates and His Clouds is currently running at the Jermyn Street Theatre until Saturday 22nd June. You can buy your tickets here.
Photography by Shaun Bedassie (firstname.lastname@example.org)