Mythic reimagines Persephone’s story with beautiful songs, heartwarming harmonies and a show-stealing ensemble – but many characters amount to little more than stereotypes and the show’s ending doesn’t feel entirely thought-through.
You’ll have come across the story of Persephone if you’ve studied Greek Mythology in any capacity – and how the daughter of Demeter, goddess of agriculture, was abducted by Hades. In Mythic however, the rebellious and angsty teen (Georgie Westhall) sneaks away from her overprotective mother (Daniella Bowen) into an exclusive party for the gods. There, Persephone falls in love with Hades (Michael Mather) and they hook up in hell.
As a mother and daughter in the midst of a fraught relationship, Demeter and Persephone share some beautiful songs with heartwarming harmonies. Bowen provides an arresting vulnerability and tenderness to the goddess that’s contrasted by the courage she has to take on to find her daughter; it’s easy to root for her as she sings “What Mothers Have to Do”. Unfortunately, whilst her emotional shift is apparent and well portrayed, Sarah O’Gleby’s staging at the Charing Cross Theatre makes the sense of destruction she’s causing unconvincing. In fact, it’s underwhelming.
Mather portrays the classic brooding love interest, whose resignation to his infernal duties masks his softer side. Unfortunately, as with some of the principal cast, he only just brings enough depth to the role to stop the character merely representing a stereotype. What he lacks in nuance however, he more than makes up for with a sometimes growling, sometimes belting, downright velvety voice. It’s clear that he relishes his solos and it’s hard to blame him. Aphrodite (Genevieve McCarthy) proves to be the most compelling character as we watch her mature from a superficial, bratty valley girl type to a more powerful contender for Zeus’ throne. As Zeus, Tim Oxbrow is deftly able to play a self-serving celebrity type with great humour. McCarthy provides soprano vocals that are completely suited to the character and Aphrodite easily has some of the best choreography in the show.
Throughout Mythic, a talented chorus is omnipresent (just as they’d be in a Greek tragedy) and they alternate between secondary characters with ease. Their choreography is its most strong in the underworld scenes, where wheelbarrows are integrated into a musical number or two. The ensemble provide an array of quirky characters to the underworld that are comedic and ultimately charming, plus they have the vocal prowess to bring more colour to many of Mythic‘s songs.
Unfortunately though, some characters amount to nothing more than stereotypes – and if you have watched Ten Things I Hate About You, for example, this story will feel all too familiar. Mythic‘s ending also feels incredibly rushed in comparison to the journey (both physical and emotional) that many of the characters have undergone. This is further reinforced when one of the characters even refers to another as a “deus ex machina” – but this self reflexiveness isn’t enough to elevate the denouement. It just feels extremely hasty.