Last seen at The Other Palace in 2018, Sam Cassidy’s musical brilliantly updates the mythological tale of Orpheus and the underworld.
Last seen at The Other Palace in 2018 for nine semi-staged performances, Sam Cassidy’s rock take on the tale of Orpheus and the underworld cleverly reworks the myth into a tale of mental illness and addiction.
The story follows Orpheus who wants to become a successful singer and musician in his band along with his friends Jason and Theseus. However, Orpheus also has severe mental health problems that his girlfriend Eurydice begs for him to seek help for. But soon three mischievous characters get inside his head to seek fame and fortune which leads to disaster.
What makes Sam Cassidy’s musical so clever and effective is the way in which it shows how mythological stories can be transformed for new audiences and still have relevancy. In particular, the way in which Orpheus’s gradual descent into addiction and despair is portrayed with great power and poignancy.
By focusing on the music industry (which has had more than its fair share of deaths of young musicians and singers such as Amy Winehouse), the story just like the Greek myth it is based on acts like a cautionary tale and deep profoundness – particularly when Eurydice does her best to save Orpheus from the downward spiral but leads to further tragedy.
There is also a fabulous contrast between all of the songs – moving from the electric and powerful, to the more tender numbers that reflect the conflict in emotions particularly well when sung by Orpheus and Eurydice. Each musical number really powerfully relates to the story.
Meanwhile, given the fact this is a semi-staged production directed with great energy by Arlene Philips, there were still many clever elements to be found in it. Not least having Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos (Eloise Davies, Jodie Steele and Jodie Jacobs) watching over the events with a sinister gleefulness adding to the hints of danger and menace that creeps gradually through the production. Elsewhere, Nick Eve’s lighting beautifully conveys the bleakness of Orpheus’s situation and the stage is consistently used with great inventiveness.
The show also contains some wonderful performances. In particular, Joel Harper-Jackson as Orpheus really captures the character’s insecurities and mental health with great sensitivity that really unfolds well across the show. Elsewhere, Diana Vickers is great support as Eurydice whose despair at Oprheus’s self-destruction is really tangible while Jodie Jacobs, Jodie Steele and Eloise Davies as the three fates are gleefully cool and collected.
Overall, this is a fascinating and powerful take on a Greek myth that has been transformed brilliantly into a contemporary musical.
By Emma Clarendon
Myth is available to watch on Youtube here.