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Hadestown


Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

29 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, London W1D 7ES 0330 333 4812

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  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

CONTAINS STROBE LIGHTING.
Signed performance: 26th June 2024 at 7.30pm

As winter comes, Orpheus and Eurydice can't live on music alone. Eurydice is drawn to Hadestown, can Orpheus save her?

Anais Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin's musical is revised and revived following runs at the National Theatre in 2018 and on Broadway in 2022.

(seen at the afternoon performance on 24th February 2024)

The monkey was less than enamoured with the original London incarnation of this show at the Olivier Theatre in November 2018. A garbled story over-stretched and lacking punch in either lyric or music was its conclusion back then.

Six years on, in the far smaller Lyric Theatre and trailing Broadway glory, this re-written and more tightly focussed version is almost unrecognisable.

Young Orpheus (Simon Oskarsson, covering for absent Donal Finn) is an ambitious waiter in New Orleans, songwriter who subconsciously resurrects an ancient tune - according to our hot narrator Hermes (Melanie La Barrie). 

Not yet renamed Evri, but mother – slipping into panto Fairy Godmother as she speaks always in rhyme – and guide to a world in which Greek myth and the Jazz era collide. Swinging with style, her pacey opening number connects, so that she never loses the audience thereafter.

Adopting a railroad synonym for Depression years USA, we meet lost child Eurydice (Grace Hodgett Young) with whom Orpheus is smitten. Hodgett Young makes it two hits in a row following her unforgettable performance in “Sunset Boulevard” last autumn. Her more interesting songs and strong vocal aid Oskarsson to build his lesser written role into a credible couple.

From the underworld, Zachary James and Gloria Onitiri as Hades and Persephone dominate proceedings as they should. He is devious, evil and has a seductive bluster for which nobody can blame Eurydice for falling.

Already trapped, Onitiri’s Persephone makes the most of her few months of freedom with a trademark show-stopping presence whenever required.

Adding a trio of Fates and chorus of workers, the small stage is filled with a buzz dissipated on the first outing in a far bigger auditorium. Director Rachel Chavkin is able to explain Greek mythology to a reluctant monkey, and hold its interest, a victory in itself.

Her cast land “Road to Hell,” “Wedding Song,” “Way Down Hadestown” and “Why We Build The Wall” with impact, yet “Flowers” which the monkey enjoyed last time seemed somehow less in the “11 O’Clock number” position at the start of act two.

And there lies the problems the monkey still has with the show. The first half has a few longueurs, the second act seems almost redundant halfway through. It takes too long, and seems to jump something in Hades / Persephone’s relationship before the final challenge to the imprisoned young lovers is revealed. Once there, “Doubt Comes In” is a long sequence yielding little result.

David Neumann’s choreography is constrained by the size of the stage, and feels derivative in a constant pattern of circles. A peculiar single scene change – the side platforms sliding outwards – seems redundant in Rachel Hauck’s chilled Southern State set design, which, with Bradley King’s dappled light and Michael Krass’s careful costumes, meld effectively the mortal and immortal storylines visually.

There is a saying that ‘everything old is new again,’ and this show proves the point. An ancient story of self-obsession and venal love, grand gestures and poor choices made on shallow, seductive promises are in tune with our era – and explain why the show has grown a cult following among young musical theatre fans who identify with the emotions on display.

Not a show that the monkey itself relates to on the same level, but it is an ensemble effort offering strong performances, pleasing visuals and a taste of something slightly different - classical and contemporary - to the West End musical theatre scene.

Legacy reader reviews

I really had high expectations and was ever so happy to get a ticket via your webshop. I like the music and of course I like the plot (because it was taught at school when I was young so I was familiar with it). I definitely want to see it again but with some different cast members.

Dónal Finn had massive problems reaching the high notes of "the song" he always sounded as if he had a sore throat. Allie Daniel doesn't fit in the role of one of the fates at all. First of all he/she/it has a way deeper voice than the other two fates and secondly his weight is presumably more than that of the other two fates combined. Someone wrote that the cast reminded her of something "out of the diversity box". I thought that Beth Hinton-Lever did a great job.

So with this cast (especially the fates and the leading role of Orpheus) I would only give *** but I definitely will see it again some other time.
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I think Grand Circle A43 at the Lyric underplays them”restricted view”!  Even leaning over the ledge, 50% of the stage was missed as the ledge in front is so high!!

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.

Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.

 

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

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Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue prices seating plan
Tuesday to Thursday

 

Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue prices seating plan
Friday to Sunday

DAILY LOTTERY: Via app Todaytix at https://www.todaytix.com/. Entries open at 0.01am on the day of the show, with the draw closing 4 hours before performance time. Winners are contacted by email and have 30 minutes to accept their tickets. Maximum 2 tickets per winner. Price £30.  

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