Back in November, my parents flew over to London for the long Thanksgiving weekend. They were keen to go see a show while in town, and Monday night was the most convenient for going out. A musical called Hadestown was on at the National Theatre and it sounded quirky: jazz-folk music, based on two Greek myths, written and directed by women. As both shows F and I have seen at the National Theatre were excellent, I thought we’d give it a go!
And we were glad we did.
Intertwining the Orpheus/Eurydice and Hades/Persephone myths, Hadestown brings us to the modern-day industrial in what could be a southern railway town / New Orleans piano bar. In addition to the four protagonists, other characters from Greek myth are in attendance: Hermes, messenger god, narrates much of the story; and the Fates ever weave around the characters, cajoling and tempting them.
Speaking of the Fates, I think they get some of the best music in the show, with hints of Bossa Nova and tight, edgy but round harmonies. Check this one out:
In other music, the song “Why We Build The Wall,” set as a kind of call-and-response reminiscent of the Old South, is powerful and chillingly relevant to today’s politics. Eva Noblezada, as Eurydice, has a great voice. I was less impressed by Orpheus’ solos, but I think that’s because the character’s musical style is quite different from the rest of the show. It’s more folksy, and reminds me of the music from Once, contrasting – probably on purpose – with the jazzier ensemble pieces.
Final verdict: Hadestown, while sometimes jumpy in narrative, is a fantastic show. The music is jazzy, bluesy, folksy, and above all, catchy. Some tunes and themes resonate heavily with today’s political environment. It was also great to see such a diverse cast, with plenty of talent to go around. Highly recommended!
Of course, an evening out on the Southbank isn’t complete without taking in the London lights from Waterloo Bridge. London really is a magical place.
- One Year Ago: Year in Review: 2017
- Two Years Ago: Beetroot & Carrot Salad with Raisins, Walnuts, & Goat Cheese– still a favorite in regular rotation
- Three Years Ago: Baking with Hot Bread Kitchen: M’smen
- Four Years Ago: Roasted Carrot Hummus with a Kick – vibrant, healthy, delicious
- Five Years Ago: Weihnachten und Silvester in Deutschland / Christmas and New Year’s in Germany
- Six Years Ago: Scallion Biscuits with Whipped Goat Cheese & Tomato Salad – need to do this again for a brunch! So good
- Seven Years Ago: Ukrainian Language Refresher
- Eight Years Ago: Let the teaching commence