A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Hadestown

Hadestown
19 March 2024
Lyric Theatre
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

Hadestown! There has been much talk about this musical ahead of its West End debut. Boasting 8 Tony awards and a Grammy, expectations were high.

Hadestown is based on the myths of Hades and Persephone as well as Orpheus and Eurydice, mixed together into a story of love and yearning. Accompanied by a bluesy jazz soundtrack, it is fast paced and emotional.

Hades and Persephone’s marriage is on the rocks, with Hades having grown jealous and possessive, not wanting to grant his wife her six months on earth to bring spring and summer back to the world. At the same time, a young Orpheus is busy writing a song that will bring spring back to a world that has been thrown into perpetual winter when he meets Eurydice. The two quickly fall in love, but struggle in a harsh world that offers no comfort. When Eurydice takes a bargain with Hades and descends to the underworld, Orpheus sets out to free her, and remind Hades of his love for Persephone.

The story is told at a good pace, both couple’s lives interwoven and juxtaposed. A narrator leads through the show, often commenting on and recapping the scenes, explaining motivations and foreshadowing developing plot. As it is not a complicated story, this does end up feeling a little patronising towards the audience, when the simplest of scenes is explained once again with abridging language. This makes the show feel more like a teaching endeavour for young people, simplifying the language and reiterating the happenings on stage, at times seeming comical in its plain describing of current scenes.

Hades is painted as a Disney-esque villain, deep voiced and menacing, revelling in evil plots with little motivation to explain his deeds. Juxtaposed to him we hear Orpheus’ voice climbing the highest heights, occasionally teetering on the edge of screeching. This seems a little too cartoonish for a big musical production and does not spark joy. Successful a musical it may be, but it won’t get a recommendation from me.

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