Jazz Hands Productions‘ adaption of Persephone at Oxford Playhouse is no traditional retelling of the popular Greek tragedy but instead combines folklore, mythology and the modern day in this new and refreshing portrayal, in this heartfelt new student production.
Director of the University of Oxford student company Emma Hawkins cleverly toys with lighting, costume and characters to convey the emotions and relationships within the stories, to establish the powder dynamics from the outset, such as the meeting of Persephone and Hades and the blossoming of their relationship, destined to be rocky from the outset.
The songs, produced by Emma Hawkins and Carrie Penn, are beautifully written and choreographed and include a wide range of genres, from ballads to tangos, which are really engaging, especially when they layer different vocals and harmonies.
Four narrators guide the audience through the story, holding their hand throughout this emotional roller-coaster, appearing both omnipresent yet allusive throughout.
Bethan Draycott’s portrayal of Persephone is remarkable and convincing, taking the audience with her on her journey, discovering the trials and tribulations of what it is to be young and in love for the first time. The on stage chemistry between her and Peter Todd, who plays Hades, is astounding. The passion, the desperation, their longing for one another feels all too real at times.
Although an ancient tale, Jazz Hands Productions‘ Persephone was also particularly relevant to many of the misfortunes and discrimination young women experience in today’s society. The writers have introduced such current issues, such as rape and miscarriage, into this mature and eloquent arena, which are then only enhanced by the brilliant cast.
Despite such adept handling of difficult conflicts, the story is also embedded with humour and laugh-out-loud moments. Sarcasm, puns and one-liners are filtered throughout which have you grinning from ear-to-ear.
Heartfelt, heart-breaking and witty, Persephone is one to watch!
Persephone is at Oxford Playhouse tonight or catch the two performances tomorrow. (Nov 12/13) . For tickets go to https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/events/persephone