Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End

What did the critics think of Anais Mitchell's Broadway hit?

By: Feb. 22, 2024
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Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End
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Hadestown, the acclaimed Broadway musical phenomenon by singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin has made its long-awaited West End premiere at the Lyric Theatre.

The show takes you on an unforgettable journey to the underworld and back, intertwining two mythic love stories – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone.

What did the critics think?

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Cindy Marcolina, BroadwayWorld: While this iteration doesn’t boast the incredible names it once did (Patrick Page as Hades was a wildcard that resulted in astounding results), the members of the company are each a star by their own accord. They shine brightly with powerhouse performances, but never overshadow or overpower one another. It’s a cohesive and steady group with tremendous voices that would stir the dead themselves.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Arifa Akbar, The Guardian: It takes a while for the dark magic to kick in. As the narrator, Hermes, Melanie La Barrie is full of swagger and has a stupendous voice yet the story is formless, with one song after another and little forward momentum. The alchemy is created quietly and somewhere in the first act you find yourself hooked.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage: On paper it always feels as if it shouldn’t work. Yet on stage Hadestown is the most exhilarating ride. That band, with its bluesy trombone and folksy guitar is consistently thrilling, the songs are vibrant and smart, the sung-through text is compelling. In this version, the relationship between Orpheus and Grace Hodgett Young’s down-to earth Eurydice is also much refined, with a glorious and deeply felt performance from Dónal Finn that turns our hero into an agonised dreamer rather than a guitar-strumming popstar.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Sam Marlowe, The Stage: The onstage band is a treat, too, with snarls and howls of wild brass, and David Neumann’s choreography adds texture while maintaining the momentum, blending the sinuous quiver and undulation of awakening passions and rising sap with the pumping pistons and percussive, back-breaking drudgery of eternal purgatorial suffering. Without a stronger narrative, it’s a show that only takes us, like the characters on Hauck’s cunningly deployed revolve, around in circles; but the journey is sometimes stunning.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Clive Davis, The Times: The underworld has never sounded so funky. At a time when jukebox musicals seem to be everywhere, singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s captivating folk opera, inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, is a reminder of what musical theatre can achieve when it sets its sights beyond the lowest common denominator.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End Marianka Swain, London Theatre: The aesthetics and sound world suggest Depression-era New Orleans, although its exact location and time period are left deliberately vague. Even more so in this superb new British incarnation, in which the cast all use their natural accents. That means we get Dónal Finn’s Irish Orpheus (rooting him in another great folk tradition), Grace Hodgett Young’s grounded, no-nonsense East Midlands-accented Eurydice, and, most strikingly, Melanie La Barrie’s Trinidadian Hermes. In fact, with her dapper silver suit, expressive patois and roof-raising, soulful vocals, La Barrie just about walks off with the show.

Review Roundup: HADESTOWN in London's West End
Average Rating: 80.0%

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