The Other Palace, London
Seen on March 16th, 2018
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Okay, so this will have two parts. Two separate posts. One being a review of the most recent production at The Other Palace and the other being comments on the development. I managed to see the show back in 2016 at the Cockpit theatre when it was ’27’. I loved the show back then and still do today.
I will try my hardest to make this review as if it was my first encounter with the show.
This was a workshop run at The Other Palace.
For those not aware of this story, it is heavily based on Ancient Greek mythology. More specifically Orpheus and his encounter with the underworld. As the rock score would imply it is a modern rendition of this historical tale.
This is most definitely a darker show in comparison to those in London currently. It touches on the very difficult topic of mental health. It perfectly represents how mental health is overlooked and how when it is identified, all attention goes to that one person drawing focus away from those also suffering. This is something that occurs so often.
Orpheus is the lead character struggling with a huge life change, being propelled to stardom. The audience are shown his ways of coping which are detrimental to his life, health, friends and family. An even darker turn is that all of this had been decided before hand. The fates knew exactly what they were doing.
The vocals were outstanding. Oh my goodness. That cast is so talented. The harmonies and power. They tore the roof off the theatre. Some standouts were definitely Eloise Davies (Clotho, a fate), Jodie Jacobs (Atropos, another fate), Joel Harper-Jackson (Orpheus) and Zoe Birkett (Miss. M) That’s not to say the rest of the cast weren’t on fire because they most certainly were. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a cast of that standard. Not a single weak link.
Although I really enjoyed the show there were a few things which I noted which could’ve been improved and with it being a workshop feedback is needed to develop it into the wonderful show it could be. I believe there is a lot of improvement to be had with the script. As previously stated, the whole concept of the show is very unique. I just felt parts of the script fell flat. One particular scene was about halfway through act 1 when Orpheus meets Hades in the underworld. That scene was very dragged out and I even found myself losing interest and willing the next number to come along.
I really struggled with the names. I know that they are all Ancient Greek mythology related which is very in keeping. I just really struggled remembering them and therefore making connections with the characters. Obviously having such an emotional show I feel it should be important to put memorable names to faces. I had no issues with some names such as Mel, Miss. M, Pandora, Orpheus (obviously!) and Hades. The main characters. But if you were to ask me what the other minor characters were called, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
One thing I like about The Other Palace is that the performance is not restricted to the stage. Throughout the show the stairs were uses (not too great if your back was facing said stairs) and characters actually sat in spare seats in the audience. There was a chat show scene where this worked so well.
Something which really got to me emotionally was the final number. The main stage was used but also the stairs of the theatre. One was a happy image and one was sad but you could choose which one you wanted to watch. I am not too sure why that blew my mind but it was a really nice touch. This also links to the chat show scene. It is nice to have the choice in what you watch although the whole story is still present. Easily missed behaviours and actions are noticed which add so much more to your understanding of the show.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Outstanding music with a great plot. I really need a cast recording ASAP!
I really do think that I have found my favourite new musical. The whole concept is incredible. I can really see it being mega when everything is where it needs to be. I am beyond excited to see how this show develops even further in the future and endeavour to be there every step of the way!
Part two of this post is linked here were you can see some of my thought on developmental changes which have been made since 2016.