My dear friend (and bride-to-be!) Jamie caught this show last night, and was so blown away by it, I told her she should write a review — which she gladly did and sent to me. As I trust her opinion completely, I’m sharing it with you all.
EDIT (5/6/10): I also saw the show and wrote my thoughts on it here.
Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale, currently running in the Owen Theatre space at the Goodman Theatre, is a visual feast to behold.
This production, a re-mounting of a collaboration between Lookingglass Theatre and Silverguy Entertainment, took my breath away.
Literally. Without spoiling anything, I honestly did not breathe for a good five minutes during the climax of the show. (You have to see it to believe it.)
The central idea is simple: tell the story of Hephaestus (the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalwork, and technology) through the eyes of a little girl, complete with tightrope walkers, aerialists and other circus performers. I’m sure many people left the show comparing it to Cirque du Soliel, which is a very apt response. The artistry on display in Hephaestus could rival any Cirque production, and many of the cast members come from backgrounds ranging from the Cirque to Ringling Bros.
(I will not mention Banana Shpeel…I will not mention Banana Shpeel…)
Not up on your Greek Gods? Here’s the quick version:
Zeus and Hera had a baby, Hephaestus, but Hera tossed him of Mount Olympus. He kept falling for years, finally landing in a Siren’s cove with broken legs sustained from his landing. In the cove, he discovers the ability to create anything he wants, and goes to work making amazing things, including gorgeous jewelry. Hera, watching from the heavens, sees this jewelry and calls him back to Mount Olympus, where he makes her a throne that traps her. A smart lady, Hera bribes Hephaestus to let her go by promising him a bride that will cause everyone jealousy — Aphrodite. In love, Hephaestus lets Hera go and takes his place atop Mount Olympus.
Creator and Director Tony Hernandez plays the title role, and is excellent as the figure around which everything else happens. Young Tatiana Ranallo (one of two girls who rotate in the role of the Narrator) provides innocent eyes to guide the audience through everything happening, and she has a lovely singing voice as well.
The audience at opening night of Hephaestus often broke into applause and catcalls as these skilled performers continued to perform death-defying and other incredible acts. Perhaps the most enjoyed act of the evening was the Risley act performed by the Anastasini Brothers which had the audience gasping and whooping. In addition, the astonishing displays of aerial skill by Almas Meirmanov (as Ares, the god of War) and Erendira Vazquez Wallenda (as lovely Iris) were appreciated by the attentive audience.
As for the breath-taking climax I mentioned earlier… without spoiling anything, I can honestly say it was the single most impressive thing I have ever seen accomplished onstage, hands down. The audience re-paid the daring performers with an immediate and thunderous standing ovation.
See this show.
There’s no way you could regret your evening.
“Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale” is currently playing at the Goodman Theatre in the Owen. More info here >