Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆
Finding the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell might feel like a Herculean task for a first-timer, but dig out your map app and you’ll find it easily — and be glad you did.
New play Myths is full of great storytelling and has a lot packed into just over an hour. It’ll be familiar to fans of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, although the stories here are delivered by the creatively-drawn characters of the Fates. Stuck in the Underworld for a few billion years too long, the Fates are now doddery old folk with an obsession for a good cup of tea and a ton of stories to tell.
Their tales of gods and mortals are played out with passion and a modern twist. Myths is a fun night out for anyone with an interest in the tales from Ancient Greece, or for anyone new to the subject.
The fresh-faced cast of three — Philippa Hambly, Suzie Grimsdick and Oliver Yellop work together seamlessly, spinning yarns at lightening speed with plenty of laughs in the mix. These are not complex jokes and some of the more obvious ones fall a bit flat, but they keep on coming, and are at their best when combined with physical theatre. Especially good are the manic harpies and the foul-tempered gatekeeper to the Underworld.
Suzie Grimsdick has impeccable timing, especially as the ancient tea-loving Fate. And all three have a wonderful knack for accents — bringing each character dazzlingly to life. Imagine a Scottish Zeus and a Brummie Sisyphus and you’re halfway there.
The simple staging of Myths fuels the quick-fire storytelling. There are no props and no set — everything is acted out imaginatively and supported with some truly wonderful percussion, guitar and random noises by musician George Mackenzie-Lowe.
Myths is short, sweet, entertaining, funny and will teach you a thing or two. You’ll also be lucky enough to have discovered the friendly, quirky and really rather charming Blue Elephant Theatre. Above all, Myths says loud and clear that life is fleeting, so enjoy it while you can. You can’t beat that kind of advice.
Myths is on at the Blue Elephant Theatre until 6 December. Tickets are £12.50, £10 concessions and £8.50 for Southwark residents. Londonist saw this production on a complimentary ticket.