Olympus: Death of a Demigod
“Olympus: Death of A Demigod” was not the show that I was expecting. I thought it would be a Classical Greek Tragedy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was a play about superheroes. Like all things associated with superheroes, it’s more than a little corny in places: costumes are a great idea for comic books, but on a person, a real life person, it adds an air of silliness to what should be serious scenes.
It looks as if it was inspired by the golden age of D.C cartoons, like “Justice League” and “Batman: The Animated Series”, and borrows heavily from comic book tropes to tell its story. There is nothing wrong with this, but I have seen it all before. I read a lot of comics, probably more than the average person, so when certain story beats arrived I found myself already knowing how they would conclude.
In addition to this the second act and the ending of the play itself fall short of the promise of the first act. That’s not to say that there aren’t cool sequences- the nightmare sequence is performed exceptionally well, making fantastic use of lightning and spacing-but compared to the high stakes of the first act, and the dramatic ending of the first act, the low stakes and frankly disappointing ending of the second ending really let the show down. In addition, one incredibly important character seemingly goes missing during the second act, which takes away from their character arc.
Performances were good all round, but some characters were left woefully underdeveloped. We’ve all seen a version of Batman at some point in our lives, and a version of Superman. I wanted to know more about the character of Ghast (Koinsola Sanusi) and her relation to ‘death magic’ which only seems to let her phase through walls. It seems like such an interesting concept to explore, especially during the second act, that I was surprised that it never really came up.
Regardless the cast has a real, tangible chemistry on stage, and the comedic and dramatic beats are hit with great precision. The only flaw I could find with any of the performances were the sometimes fumbled lines, which took away from the pace of the scenes they occurred in.
The shining stars of the performance are far too many to count, but the comedic beats hit by Shadow (Oliver Mealor-Ishola) always made me chuckle, the authenticity of Zippy’s (Cameron Turner) and Wonderman’s (James Campbell-Warner) performances really saved the second act, and The Professor (Mack Taylor-Preston) gives a fantastic villainous performance; if only we saw more of it.
I’d recommend you go see “Olympus...”, because the first act and the performances given by the cast are fantastic. In addition it’s very interesting to see the superhero genre done on stage, and while the story itself is nothing particularly new it is still engaging.
I give “Olympus: Death of a Demigod” a 7/10.
- Jack O'Leary