From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on a range of sources, in addition to The Odyssey, Atwood scripts the narrative of Penelope, the faithful and devoted wife of Odysseus and her 12 maids, who were killed upon the master's return. Atwood proposes striking interpretations of her characters that challenge the patriarchal nature of Greek mythology. The chapters transition between the firsthand account of Penelope and the chorus of maids as listeners are taken from Penelope's early life to her afterlife. Laural Merlington charmingly delivers the witty and perceptive Penelope with realistic inflection and emphasis. Some of her vocal caricatures seem over the top, but most voices maintain a resemblance to our perceptions of these mythic people. The maids are presented as a saddened chorus by a cloning of Merlington's voice. These dark figures speak straightforwardly in their accusations of Penelope and Odysseus, while, at other times, they make use of rhyming. This format works well, though sometimes the cadence and rhyming scheme are off beat. This benefits the production by creating an eerie resonance and haunting demeanor that enhances this engaging tale.
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Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives. * * Independent * * As potent as a curse. -- Lucy Hughes Hallett * * Sunday Times * * Atwood takes Penelope's part with tremendous verve...she explores the very nature of mythic story-telling. -- Mary Beard * * Guardian * * Atwood's typical wit and vim on fine display: with the late maids providing a Greek chorus, Penelope swoops across the centuries to pithily slate her cousin Helen of Troy, judge Odysseus and even provide a feminist viewpoint of which Homer could nary have dreamt. * * Observer * * Pragmatic, clever, domestic, mournful, Penelope is a perfect Atwood heroine. -- Sam Leith * * Spectator * *