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Review: Hadestown

Hadestown at the Lyric Theatre London is a mesmerizing journey into the depths of musical brilliance. From the first note to the final curtain, the music and vocals are nothing short of intoxicating. If you allow yourself to be consumed by Hadestown, it will become your new obsession.

While this show may not cater to a broad church of theatre-goers, those who take a chance on this mesmerizing production will be greatly rewarded. The cast is a constellation of talent, but certain stars shine especially bright.

Hadestown takes audiences on a journey into the depths of Greek mythology, exploring themes of love, despair, and the human condition. Created by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, the musical is a reimagining of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in a post-apocalyptic, Depression-era inspired world.

The story follows Orpheus, a talented musician, and Eurydice, a young woman seeking refuge from the harsh realities of life. As they fall in love, their relationship is tested by poverty and despair. When Eurydice is tempted by the promise of a better life in the underground city of Hadestown, ruled by the enigmatic Hades, she descends into the depths of the underworld, leaving Orpheus behind.

Driven by love and determination, Orpheus embarks on a perilous journey to rescue Eurydice from the clutches of Hades and his queen, Persephone. Along the way, he encounters the charming yet sinister Hermes, who serves as both narrator and guide.

Melanie La Barrie’s portrayal of Hermes is ridiculously outstanding, her every note captivating the audience. Dónal Finn weaves a delicate vocal tapestry as Orpheus, while Grace Hodgett Young’s portrayal of Eurydice is enchanting and compelling.

Gloria Onitiri’s powerful vocals as Persephone demand attention, making every moment she’s on stage unforgettable. However, it’s Zachary James who steals the show as the deliciously sinister Hades. His stage presence alone convinces you that you are truly face to face with Hadestown’s No.1.

Hadestown also manages to weave the musicans into the narative, with at certain points the key musicians taking centre stage. Which in itself sweeps the audience into the story as you don’t feel at any point you are simply watching a performance.

Hadestown explores timeless themes of love, sacrifice, and the power of music to transcend barriers. The musical features a hauntingly beautiful score infused with elements of folk, blues, jazz, and Americana, composed by Anaïs Mitchell. The music serves as a driving force in the narrative, capturing the emotions of the characters and immersing the audience in the world of Hadestown.

The production’s visual aesthetic is equally captivating, with stunning set design, evocative costumes, and innovative staging that brings the underworld to life on stage. The use of lighting and choreography enhances the atmospheric quality of the show, eclipsed by the moment the stage turns into the underworld itself just before the end of the frirst half..

Hadestown is certainly not your usual theatregoing fare; it’s less Disney’s Frozen and more Princess and the Frog for adults, at least musically. But if you’re willing to take the road to hell, you’ll find yourself immersed in a theatrical experience like no other.

At its core, Hadestown is a story of hope and redemption, of the enduring power of love to overcome even the darkest of obstacles. With its compelling storytelling, unforgettable music, and striking visuals, Hadestown has captivated audiences around the world, earning critical acclaim and numerous awards. It’s now about to do the same at Lyric Theatre in London. Whether you’re a fan of Greek mythology, musical theatre, or simply a compelling story, Hadestown offers an unforgettable theatrical experience that will leave you spellbound.

So get ready to board that train to Hadestown and when you get there, you may just find you never want to leave.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Hadestown poster on Screen One

Hadestown Now Playing at the Lyric Theatre, London.

Get your tickets here

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