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Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Music

The good and the ungodly

30 January 2020

It’s a musical battle of mythological deities, as David Zampatti finds in The Gods The Gods The Gods and an ear-bashing Ragnarokkr.

Review: The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre, The Gods The Gods The Gods ·
De Parel Spiegeltent in the Pleasure Garden, 28 January 2020 ·
Variegated Productions, Ragnarøkkr ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 28 January 2020 ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

Good Gods! Two musicals – gigs really – bouncing off ancient mythologies in one night.

Like last year’s Orpheus and this year’s Eurydice, which Britain’s The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre have brought to Fringe World, The Gods The Gods The Gods tells stories from Greek mythology as if they were happening today somewhere in the humdrummest parts of northern England.

It starts with Zeus and the other gods meeting down at “the caff”, and the stories are told in 14 instantly connectable tunes ranging in style from hip hop and slam poetry to rock ballads. Alexander Wright, Yoshika Colwell and Phil Grainger are all accomplished singers and musicians, and they whirl across three stages – two with electronic set-ups, one with guitar – and through the audience standing between them.

Most of that audience, I suspect, had seen Orpheus and/or Eurydice, and their delight at more of the same was tangible. As was mine.

Most of the audience at Ragnarøkkr have probably seen Variegated Productions shows like Frankie’s and The Man and the Moon and are fans of their work.

In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is the great battle in which Odin, Thor, Freyr and the rest of ABBA are killed before the world is renewed by a great flood. It’s perfect subject matter for thrash metal bands, and essentially that’s what you get here.

St John Cowcher is a good actor and can hold a tune well enough to bellow the indecipherable lyrics of the show’s songs, while Joe Lui, who’s good at everything, is good at playing guitar in a sort of Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman way. Gracie Smith smacks some drums good too (though she might have been better spending more time in the core of the kit than around its periphery).

But really, when a show hands out earplugs and most people in the audience think it necessary to wear them, when there’s absolutely no variation in the material and no way of even dimly gathering what in Valhalla is going on in it, you may as well be up at the Civic Hotel watching a Megadeth tribute band.

The Gods The Gods The Gods runs until 9 February 2020 in the Pleasure Garden.

Ragnarøkkr is at the Blue Room until 8 February 2020.

Click here to read a Seesaw Q&A with Ragnarokkr‘s St John Cowcher.

Pictured top: St John Cowcher, left, and Joe Lui thrash it out in Ragnarøkkr.

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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