Greek Myths: Retold – Rosemary Branch Theatre – London

Reviewer: James Robertson

Writer and Director: Chris Capon

The myths of the Ancient Greeks are tales as old as time. Many of our stories today owe a large debt to them as the progenitors of Western storytelling. It is imperative for these tales to be passed on, as they have done for thousands of years.

Greek Myths: Retold is a show that hopes to pass on these stories and instil their messages for a current audience. Presented by Purple Man Theatre, having just debuted at the Pen Theatre, founder of the company Chris Capon brings this smorgasbord of ancient tales to the Rosemary Branch Theatre for two nights.

Utilising only one actor, the age-old stories that many may be familiar with from a young age are retold in mainly a monologic fashion. Painted boards are strung up to represent the numerous characters of the myths, giving a visualisation to what we are hearing. Cute, hand-made props are employed too, evoking child-like wonder.

Capon’s delivery of the stories and his ability to play off an audience are exceptional, with moments of audience interaction heightened by his controlled but laid-back demeanour. These moments are the highlights of the performance, with audience members brought on stage to act as Thanatos, the personification of death, and Sisyphus in his plight to endlessly push a boulder up a mountain. But these moments are few and far between, with the piece screaming for more unexpected interventions to shake things up.

Although Greek Myths: Retold does what its title states, it’s an odd choice to call these retellings when in fact they are very much telling the original myths without any alterations for a modern, pub theatre audience. Without much in the way of adult humour or references injected into these tales, it makes you question why this show is presented for an adult audience at all: it appears to be aiming for children in its presentation and simplicity.

With that being said, for those who are unfamiliar with the origins of the Greek myths, then Greek Myths: Retold will be an enlightening and educational night.

Reviewed on 28 March 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Telling Ancient Greek tales.

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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