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The Vaults, London

Becoming Shades
4.0Reviewer's Rating

Becoming Shades is a bold transformation of the myth of Persephone. Bringing together narrative and circus performance, Chivaree Circus has created a uniquely imaginative immersive theatre experience.

In a narrative in which Persephone is often the victim of her fate, Chivaree Circus presents us with three strong women defying their circumstances to shape their own destinies. Rebecca Rennison’s portrayal of Persephone’s descent into Hades’ lair and her defiant return is both poignant and inspiring. Anna McDonnell’s lost soul is desperate yet resilient, drawing the audience of ‘lost souls’ into this narrative of Persephone’s trials. Charon (Molly Beth Morosa) and the Furies (Rosie Bartley, Jessica Pearce and Isobel Midnight) make this performance truly immersive through engaging directly with the audience, guiding them and interacting with complete conviction. However, it is Alfa Marks as Hades who offers a singularly striking performance. Her confidence, the bold composition of her choreography, and her breath-taking collaboration with Rennison, truly bring the risk and seduction of this underworld to life.

The haunting live music provided by Sam West and Becks Johnstone guides the audience through the underworld, heightening the tension of each performance and creating the foundations for the unforgettable ambience of this dark underworld.

While the theatricality of this production at times draws attention away from the skill of each performer, the cast’s powerful portrayal of Persephone’s journey through the underworld is dynamic, playful and engaging. Moving through the carefully crafted scene, with atmospheric lighting and eye-catching props casting outsized shadows, brings you closer to the audacity and talent of the performers than a traditional circus production, and takes you directly to the heart of a familiar story, revealing hidden strength and reforging Persephone’s plight for a new generation. Becoming Shades is a dramatic excursion into a fantastical world in the heart of London and a wonderful night out.

  • Circus
  • By Chivaree Circus
  • Directed by: Laurane Marchive
  • The Vaults, London
  • Until 18 March 2018

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Hannah Connell is an MA student of Russian and East European Literature at UCL. She is passionate about poetry, art and architecture. Her background in modern languages in fuelled by her interest in foreign literature and drama, an interest in culture and theatre that springs from her introduction to great English playwrights at school. On the side she pursues her interest in design through painting and pottery-making.

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