God Catcher

Greek myths have been told and retold, lost, translated and re-translated over and over. Our familiarity with each varies and Cassie Muise and Tyler McKinnon’s God Catcher re-imagines of the myth of Arachne; not only re-introducing us to a myth that isn't as popularly adapted as others, but uses this musical as a way to give us some stark reminders.

Makes a story that is thousands of years old applicable to us in the present

Arachne (Yna Tresvalles) lives in the town of Hypaepa where she weaves scenes of mythology in the agora against the wishes of the Elders (Adam Makepeace, Mackenzie Thacker and Adrien Spencer) who fear that her weaving might bring unwanted attention. After Hermes (Colum Findlay) delivers the news of Arachne’s talent to Athena (Isabella Gervais) – the goddess of wisdom, strategy and weaving – she challenges Arachne to a competition to see who is the best weaver.

The last time the myth of Arachne was considered a piece of pop culture was in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, so Muise and McKinnon do have a difficult task of saying something new about a story that is in some ways familiar to us, where some of us know what will happen before the stage is even set. And in many ways they do well; they find new meaning and make a story that is thousands of years old applicable to us in the present. The score has its moments, especially the parallels that are created between Arachne and Athena. Athena’s characterisation and internal struggle in her songs alone is enough of a reason to see this show, if only it weren’t for the rest of the musical. The pace is incredibly slow, it takes half an hour just for the exposition - and I know this because that’s when the fire alarm went off and at that point, Arachne had not even touched a loom. And it’s not even a particularly interesting or creative exposition, it’s one of those ones that you could come in half way through the show and not miss anything important. The ending itself does not make a lot of sense, it has all the appearance of something that was just written in haste because the writers needed to wrap it all up somehow since they decide to scrap the traditional one from the myth in favour of a re-framing of the narrative. It's a great example of why re-imaginings don't always need to change things. And when the beginning and ending are subpar, what are you really left with? It’s also hard to tell whether the dialogue itself is stilted or just the delivery, but the saccharine falseness mixed with the slow pace makes it really difficult to root and care for these characters.

That being said, Gervais and Findlay are incredible in their roles as Athena and Hermes respectively and their performances really infuse the musical with life and gives us something to look forward to. Gervais presents Athena’s internal conflict with such maturity and gravitas that it turns Athena into the most interesting character. Findlay’s rendition of Don’t Shoot The Messenger is such a comically cheeky jazz number that is a real highlight in the show. It’s fun, upbeat and energizes the musical in a way that it really needs. These two make God Catcher worth watching.

God Catcher isn’t bad, but between the incredibly long exposition, slow pace, insane ending and some of the cast’s delivery, it just seems very unprofessional and lumped together. It has potential; some of the songs are musically interesting and there is an underlying truth that “the gods lie” throughout the show that’s important for us to hear, but it needs more work to be actively enjoyable than just fine.

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The Blurb

God Catcher reimagines the story of Arachne, the most talented weaver in all of ancient Greece. In the myth, after defeating the goddess Athena in a weaving challenge, Arachne is turned into a spider as punishment. But is that all there is to Arachne's story? The gods can be cruel, and who benefits when a story is told a certain way? Through catchy tunes and heartfelt lyrics, God Catcher explores the legacy of a woman who dared to tell the truth, no matter the cost.

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