Reviewed by Jan Mellor
From the onset, the magnificent Mr Stephen Fry sat centre stage in a leather high back chair addressing the completely sold out theatre with his calm passion and confidence that this literary genius oozes with every pore. He was about to share with us all, an enthusiastic and eager audience, his astounding knowledge of the great Greek myths of those centuries ago that we, in our fast unimaginative world have forgotten about or know little of, to explain to us why some oceans are named as they are and the true meaning of the Galaxy and the Milky Way that hangs above us every night their names used unconsciously by us all and with little thought.
This was the 2nd part of his trilogy (Gods, Heroes, Men) from his best-selling volumes of Heroes and Mythos. As always, his hypnotic voice drew the audience to wait on his every word. Words spoken as to a hopeful child at bedtime awaiting a parent to turn a page or (as with his audio readings of Harry Potter books) to calm those who suffer with amnesia, anxiety or depression – just ask many an adult! I had no idea what to expect at this performance only eager to attend knowing I would be in the safe hands of this most gifted and talented man.
As I arrived in the packed theatre – 10 minutes late due to horrendous traffic problems – he had me sucked in within 2 seconds as he recounted the tales of Perseus, Hermes, Athena and Zeus, the ancient gods of the epic Greek continent. He told his tale faultlessly with humour, passion and wisdom entrancing us all with his comical accents – Irish, Cockney and Brummie to break the spell of the tales with jolts of laughter. He told of how Perseus defeated Medusa, through the help of Hades, Herpes and Athena and we were all mesmerised in a magic world that is likened to being an infant on experiencing Disneyland for the very first time. The backdrop melted to reveal images of trees, rivers and statues to lead us all through each part of his story and this was only broken by Stephen asking the audience for a visual to talk us through – this again demonstrating his comprehensive knowledge and memory (!) of the Greek history and myths as he could talk confidentially regardless of what had been chosen and by questions emailed to him following the interval. He talked of many a Greek whose names were unpronounceable never mind rememberable – and my 86-year mother who was with me kept whispering throughout – “How does he remember all this?”, “There aren’t any prompts or scripts?”, ”How does he know all this?” – to which, in awe, I just shrugged and mouth agape, leaning forward in my seat, urged him for more.
I do not want to divulge all the insights that Stephen shared with us in minute detail over the 3 hours of his show, as you need/should/must read his books to gain this astounding information yourself or better still, if you get the chance go and see this guru – our 21st century God – you can discover the magic of these times through his inspiring words that give these tales a unique and fantastic edge.
An amazing performance that had everyone spellbound. It is a must for all ages (a young boy sat next to me and loved it cooing “Wow!“ and “Never!” throughout and is an enjoying and informative 3 hours that will leave you filled with wonder.
A genius at work – go and be entranced!
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000