Hadestown: National Theatre, London
Reviewed 21st December 2018
Prior to going to Broadway, Hadestown is currently running at the National Theatre. 2018 has been the year of Greek mythology with shows like Myth and Mythical being two new musicals debuting this year. Hadestown follows songwriter Orpheus and his muse Eurydice as winter approaches. Tempted by the promise of plenty, Eurydice heads to the depth of industrial Hadestown. Hades sets off on a quest through the underworld to save her. After record-breaking runs at New York Theatre Workshop and Canada’s Citadel Theatre, this is Hadestown’s UK debut.
The score by Anaïs Mitchell is a mixture of modern American folk music and jazz helping to modernise this Ancient Greek myth. The harmonies created are gorgeous, particularly with the three fates, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Rosie Fletcher and Gloria Onitiri. Eva Noblezada’s impressive vocal ranged is showcased and her characterisation of the delicate yet strong Eurydice is fantastic. Narrated by Hermes, played by Andre De Shields, the story is cleverly told through song and rhyme and Andre’s unique narration brings the story to life. Patrick Page’s baritone voice suites Hades perfectly and his deep, rich vocals compliment Amber Gray’s gravelly jazz-inspired Persephone. Reeve Carney’s vocals are also a delight to listen to, delicate and moving his pop-rock, indie style fits in perfectly with the diverse genres of music showcased. At the start of the show Hermes introduces the characters and comments that the chorus are one of the most hard-working on any stage and this sums up the ensemble completely. Not only are they onstage almost all of the time but they add a special dynamic to the show. Becoming the workers of the underworld is a particular highlight of the show and is unlike anything else currently on in the West End.
The clever, jazz club inspired set, by Rachel Hauck, is brilliant and the use of the revolve is some of the best seen in any production. The innovative use of the revolve adds an extra dynamic and coupled with the clever choreography, by David Neumann, the whole show is a spectacle to watch. Lighting, by Bradley King, further adds to the impact and effect of the show as the audience are transported from the upper world to the underworld.
It is obvious to see why Hadestown has sold out for much of the short run in London, it is stunning to watch and utterly gorgeous to listen to. Despite the plot being one that is quite well known, the direction by Rachel Chavkin and music by Anaïs Mitchell brings the story to life in a brand new way. If at all possible make sure that you do not miss this superb musical whilst it is in London.
Hadestown is playing at the National Theatre, London until the 26th January 2019. For more information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks