Mythic review at Charing Cross Theatre, London – ‘heavenly pop musical’
Gods know where the idea came from, but Marcus Stevens and Oran Eldor’s pop musical uses the Greek pantheon and its myths to tell a surprisingly sweet and complex story about mothers, daughters and flying the coop.
The show focuses on gentle Demeter, goddess of the earth, cast out from Olympus for being a bit of a loser with rubbish powers, and her rebellious daughter Persephone who’s drawn to the petty, partying gods – and particularly to angsty Hades, lord of the underworld.
It’s a strange concept. Genevieve McCarthy’s Aphrodite, goddess of love, becomes a glittery Kardashian-esque celeb while Michael Mather’s Hades is an introspective, self-loathing emo. But somehow it works. Really well, in fact. The whole show, like the catchy verse-chorus pop songs it’s made up of, is incredibly tightly written.
It’s almost sung-through, rattling from one finely honed number to the next with barely a pause for book, and each song could be a hit single in its own right. There’s not a single slack moment either. It has a plot but doesn’t get bogged down in it, has a point to make and makes it.
On top of that is the slick simplicity of Lee Newby’s design: ensemble members are in grey cloth, the gods in colourful clothing. Strips of curtain hang down to give the classy set a celestial atmosphere. And Jamie Platt’s lighting skilfully marks the changes between the grungy, gloomy underworld and the white lights of Olympus.
Everything is well judged. Everything works. From Sarah O’Gleby’s just-lively-enough direction and choreography to the set, the lights, the score, the band. From the top of Olympus to the depths of Hades. It’s heavenly.