From Breeze Entertainment’s founder Bree Kent comes a multifaceted stage show depicting the tales of a handful of ancient Greece’s most well-known deities. With an ensemble of Australia’s most talented performers, The Goddesses brings the tales of Olympus to life through dance, live vocal performance, and impressive acrobatics.
Combining contemporary, commercial and ballet dance styles with a modern soundtrack, The Goddesses takes the audience through the stories of Hestia, Artemis, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia, Styx, Selene, and Medusa.
There’s no denying that the cast of The Goddesses are incredibly talented. While most of the dance routines were commercial style, with each dancer’s sexual appeal amped up by their strappy heels, there were sprinkles of pointe ballet and contemporary thrown in as well as aerial acrobatics and live singing. The most interesting addition was the use of live instruments, with Styx’s story told through Steph Stamopoulos’ cello rendition of Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) cover. It was haunting and ghoulish, as one would expect for a goddess synonymous with the longest river in the Underworld, and truly set it apart from the other performances in the show.
One of the show’s other big standouts was perhaps it’s costuming, specifically with Cassie Mcivor’s Gaia earth dress. Completely covered in an array of greenery, Mcivor truly looked like the embodiment of Mother Earth as she crooned about the plight of the environment. In the midst of her singing, the skirt of Mcivor’s dress burst forth with dancers clad in similar outfits. It was quite an impressive spectacle.
The production team made excellent use of the limited space, keeping the set design simple to make the transitions between performers easy. The stage was adorned with a basic ancient Greece inspired set, with columns and bannisters framing the back and sides of the stage and an ornate golden gate no doubt meant to represent the gates of Mount Olympus. Some parts of the set were moveable, with ensemble performers often wheeling elevated sections around to change the set layout or support a key performer.
But despite quite literally overflowing with talent, The Goddesses was unfortunately missing something. When the show was started by a narration from Zeus to explain the rules of the theatre and the journey we would be embarking on, I genuinely expected to keep hearing him give the audience an introduction to each of the mythical icons as they graced the stage. His voiceover only reappeared once, after the intermission to introduce Gaia. It felt lopsided. Why announce only one goddess when the show contained at least six others?
The Goddesses also functioned on the assumption that the audience was thoroughly familiar with the lore of each goddess. While some stories are more familiar than others, the show’s lack of exposition resulted in many of the stories losing some of their impact. When Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt, showed sorrow for a fallen deer, I was left feeling confused. Performer Lizzie Jenkins did an incredible job of portraying the emotions required, but the vignette was lacking in the kind of context required to make the tale more emotionally gripping. The same could also be said for Medusa, who was introduced to the stage as a mortal fighting with Athena before becoming the snake-headed icon she is most known as.
I found myself often wishing that the voice of Zeus would break through between each vignette and to give the audience just a little backstory and more clarity. Yes, these particular goddesses bear well-known names, but the finer details of their stories are not always common knowledge. Dance can be, and in this case was an interpretive medium and so The Goddesses would have felt more engaging had each performance been punctuated with audible storytelling.
While The Goddesses as a whole, may have left me feeling a little unsatisfied as I left the theatre, I am very much inclined to give each of the performers their due praise. Despite its shortcomings, The Goddesses is a fun show for the theatre enthusiast interested in forgetting the world for 2 hours.
The Goddesses was held at Meat Market, The Cobblestone Pavilion, 3 Blackwood St. North Melbourne from the 3rd to the 6th of February, 2022.
For more information on the production and future shows, visit: https://thegoddesses.com.au
Photography by Pride Production.