Zeus on the Loose is an anodyne, indeed innocent, card game for children. The same cannot be said for the show of the same name currently running in Vauxhall. It is very rude, and is for adults only. Apart from that, it is rather hard to describe. The cast play various Olympian gods and goddesses (so called because they dwell on Mount Olympus, not – as the show has it – in Olympia, which is surely near Kensington). The deities in question will be familiar to many – Zeus, Hera, Hades, Apollo and Artemis – but has anyone heard of the goddess Ilithyia? Even famous classical scholars like Boris Johnson would probably be puzzled. Anyway, given the classical theme, perhaps the Latin word farrago describes it best : a hotch-potch, a mish-mash.
There is a story, about a plot to give Zeus, the King of the Gods, his come-uppance, and to vindicate the distaff side of the Pantheon. So far, so trendy. But the plot is very hard to follow, and is pretty silly. The acoustics are poor, so much of the dialogue is indistinct. It is really the interludes that entertain. The action is interspersed with divertimenti such as ballet dancing, acrobatics, even strip tease, to say nothing of the warm-up by a gay comedian. And yes, sex rears its ugly head. The goddesses are scantily clad and very pretty, unlike the God of the Underworld, played by a drag queen of prodigious girth and lewdness.
The venue may be a little hard to find, if you are not familiar with London’s club scene or with the purlieus of Vauxhall. The Fire Club, which calls itself “an industrial-style railway arch night club”, does indeed nestle beneath a railway arch near Vauxhall Station, but the main entrance was closed when I went, and one had to pass through the Vauxhall Street Food and Beer Garden round the corner in order to reach the area where the show was being staged. Once there, drinks can be purchased, the atmosphere is relaxed and uninhibited, and the mostly young audience were clearly enjoying themselves. But this is not a show for old fuddy-duddies like your reviewer!