When I was asked to review Myths two things came to mind. Firstly, wow this theatre is fewer than 5 minutes walk from my front door and secondly, I love Greek Mythology.
So, off I went to the Blue Elephant Theatre, located off John Ruskin Street in Camberwell. There is a small bar area and a decent sized performance space. I also learnt that as a resident of The London Borough of Southwark I am entitled to discounted theatre tickets and occasionally can apply for free tickets.
Now on to the production. Myths, is an ensemble piece. Its three actors Philippa Hambly, Suzie Grimsdick and Oliver Yellop play a multitude of characters and are present on stage at all times, as is the musician.
George Mackenzie-Lowe provides the soundtrack and sound effects to the production. He plays a number of different instruments including an exotic sitar, an erhu, and a front door key! His presence in this production is crucial and he delivers on point.
The first 20 minutes of the production are delivered at a very high standard. Physical theatre is not easy to perform convincingly, yet this cast easily transform from immortal Fates, to animal, to Greek gods and goddesses, to mere mortals, without difficulty. They deliver a harmonious production where all cast members are working together to produce a great piece of theatre, with spectacular comic timing and great pace.
I must commend Philippa Hambly as I felt she gave an outstanding performance. Whether she was playing an immortal Fate, a Greek goddess or god, or a cow chewing the cud, her performance was solid and appeared effortless. Philippa is definitely an actor I shall be looking out for in future productions.
The first 20 minutes of the production was really very promising, but then the storyline didn’t really move forward as well as it could have done. I don’t think this was by any means the fault of the actors, but instead the script. I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary banter between the Fate characters that could have easily been cut.
Myths doesn’t seem to sit with either Theatre in Education or the Horrible History camp – both of these I feel should be commended for their part in education through arts.
The subject matter was fun and educational but again, as someone who knew these stories already I wasn’t gaining much knowledge through the production, although I was pleased to learn the real reason why there were so many stone statues in Medusa’s garden. For me, I think the piece could be shortened to about 40 minutes and toured up and down the country as a great piece of TIE in secondary schools.
Review by Faye Stockley
MYTHS by Hammer and Tongs Theatre
Join the Fates for an evening of hilarity in the underworld as Hammer and Tongs Theatre take on the myths of Ancient Greece. Dodge snakes with Medusa’s stylists, chug protein shakes with the goddess of war, and glimpse the dinner-party squabbles on Mount Olympus that really started the Trojan War. The Greek Myths retold as you’ve never seen them before, accompanied by live music!
Cast: Suzie Grimsdick, Philippa Hambly, Oliver Yellop
Director Jennifer Rose Lee
Set Designer Beth Heaton
Executive Producer Sofia Tsekoura
Saturday 29th November 2014