Myths - The Greek Legends: A Comedy Remake

Jennifer Lee

Hammer and Tongs Theatre

Blue Elephant Theatre

From 18 November 2014 to 06 December 2014

Review by Howard Loxton

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An hour of light-hearted fun that takes a fresh and refreshing look at some of those ancient stories recounts them through the teatime story telling of the Morai, the Fates.

Traditionally they were female: Clotho, who span the thread of life, Lachesis, who measured how long a life each person was allotted, and Atropos who chose the way of death and cut the thread. Jennifer Lee’s version makes the thread spinner male and, since they have been around longer than all human life, Suzie Grimsdick, Philippa Hambly and Oliver Yellop make these immortals very ancient.

In their paint-spattered dungarees, they spin, measure and snip is silence, miming their actions, as musician George Mackenzie-Lowe plays in the background on a variety of stringed instruments and, later, any other sound effects.

It's repetitive work and they need their tea breaks. The male moia is usually on teapot duty making it really strong with just a little milk, two sugars, as one sister insists. If they are lucky they get a biscuit and for relaxation they share a story.

Sometimes they choose a story from the lives they have controlled the thread of, sometimes a story of the other immortals up there on Olympus, and having chosen act it out together.

There is Sisyphus, for instance: the chap who had to keep on pushing that boulder up the hillside. He gets the chance to go back to earth and patch this up with his missus. There is Orpheus trying to get back Eurydice from Hades (the scissor Fate just saw that snake and had to snip), a Scottish Zeus, an Australian Athena, a chic French Aphrodite and a Hera whose Southern accent puts her in a classical pre-Bellum mansion.

Hera, of course, gets very angry when she spots Zeus dancing a wild fandango with lovely Io (hers is a very moo-ving story) and when it comes down to a beauty competition between Hera and the other heavenly ladies her husband wisely delegates the choice to the Trojan Paris (and we all know what that led to).

Remember those stone-still statues around the Gorgon Medusa’s place. You thought they were all those who, preceding Perseus, came to kill her. These Fates tell a version that is much more stylish.

Under writer Lee’s direction, this trio of performers use lively physical invention, multiple switches of character and their own charismatic contact with the audience to create a show of non-stop comic cuts.