“Geeks, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears!”
From the introduction by two narrators, serious Harri Wolff and energetic James Pearce, of Greek mythology versus “geek mythology” to the polished ending, the laughs, fun, energy, exuberance and excellence of Hills Youth Theatre’s performance of their “versions” of Greek myths and legends was thoroughly entertaining.
The play begins as a presentation by two school students and unfolds with many characters telling stories of the pantheon of gods and goddesses and their interaction with mortals. Zeus and Hera, Prometheus, Hades, Aphrodite, Pandora and The Box (told in in ancient and modern versions!), Hermes, Hercules, Athena, Jason and the Argonauts, The Iliad, Medusa, Orpheus, Achilles and the Trojan War (using toy soldiers was very funny) to name a few. There were too many other Greek gods and goddesses, Titans and Trojans to list and with 90 different characters to portray, all of the 31 cast members played at least two and sometimes up to four characters – extremely well.
Ben Proeve, the Director, did an excellent job interpreting Don Zolidis’ script and adapting it for local laughter. Assistant Director and Choreographer Caitlin Selge also created amazing dance numbers, which were well practised and performed by the talented cast.
The minimalistic set created and designed by Ben Proeve and Sonya Rayner enabled the audience to concentrate on the performances of the actors. There were many props that Sylvia Clarke and Amy Lee cleverly found to enhance many scenes, especially visually assisting the Narrators. Numerous Greek, Roman and other suitable costumes by Paola dal Pozzo, Fran Vallance and Ben Proeve were well sourced from Murray Bridge Players and Singers and David Gauci. Music and sound effects were cued and delivered by Jon Eckert, Sean Vincent and Rory Mc Gregor. The bright lighting effects by Fleur Mintern and follow spot were cleverly operated by Rose Mintern, Finn Bennie, Tim Lane and Nicola Frazer.
All performers’ voices were well projected without microphones and pronunciation and accents, where used, were very clear. The energy, enthusiasm and teamwork reflected their passion and dedication for acting, singing and dancing. Standout performers for me were Luca Bolte as the Therapist and Charon and Hector; as well as Matthew Habel-Orrell as Orpheus, especially his romantic ukulele love song. April Strevens convinced us she was a very tough Hercules. Charlie Thorne was an engaging MC for the hilarious “Guess the Monster” show. All four Narrators did a fantastic task of presenting each story and kept the action going, while frantic costume and character changes were happening backstage.
The audience reactions – cheering, applauding and laughter – confirmed their enjoyment of the whole show, and reflected our evening too – a delightful and whimsical distraction from ordinary life.
As there are only five performances, I hope you can get to see this excellent show in Stirling.