At a house in Highgate Hill, Magnetic North Theatre Company told the devastating story of Medusa for Anywhere Theatre Festival.
I could get straight into writing about the show on its own, but the truth is that the performance truly began before the actors started their lines. The entry to the performance space was a dream from a fairytale, as we walked down a path lined with upturned furniture, novels and small household objects on one side, and a lace sheet decorated with pages from books on the other.
A mention to Tiff Lane (the Production Designer) is absolutely necessary. Her attention to detail in this entrance alone was impeccable, and made 'Medusa' a truly immersive experience. This beautiful walkway was the last glimmer of light before we entered the darkness of Medusa's world.
In any small show, it's interesting to see how the space is utilised. In this one, the stage was breathtaking. We entered Medusa's cave to see a box-like space, with a separator between the front and the back. At the back, two people sat turned away from audience, and at the front, two people were frozen in an embrace and a third sat on a chair to the right.
It was a hauntingly beautiful production, filled to the brim with themes about gender stereotypes, victim shaming and sexuality, all while drawing upon a tale told and retold countless times over the years. Playwright and Director Artemis Green did an incredible job writing this piece.
The cast of this show was unstoppable, and I was drawn into the story as soon as the narrator (Sam Zell) spoke. Her voice was perfect for the story being told as she lured the audience into the twisted tale of a woman accused of her own rape. Maddy Parkinson and Andy Green were terrifying as Athena (goddess of war) and Poseidon (god of the sea) respectively, successfully portraying their power over the mortals below them.
Joseph Wilson shone as Perseus, reciting his lines with a tone as sharp as a knife. The words he spoke cut into the atmosphere each time they left his mouth. Finally, Medusa herself was given life by the talented Brodie Shelley, who magnificently embodied the stages of grief and sadness that someone in Medusa's position might experience. I felt for the character deeply as she pleaded with the gods to be seen as a victim and not a criminal.
The cast and crew of Magnetic North Theatre Company should be proud of what they achieved in 'Medusa'. It was a stirring, eye-opening show addressing very relevant themes while still sticking to a story known for centuries.