Styx

For once, we are given a programme description that is completely accurate and delivers what it promises: ‘a tragicomic thriller about love and accidental murder….a whirlwind romance of intrigue, grotesquery, and bad puns’; actual groaningly bad puns that we hate to enjoy. Styx is loosely based on the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, which makes it sounds far too highbrow. You might add Murder She Wrote and many others for comparison but none of it matters. This is silly entertainment on a serious note: just sit back and laugh.

Styx is simple, entertaining and very funny; the sort of show you just can’t help but enjoy.

The phone rings and a tragedy unfolds. We are taken back to the isolated village of Styx: seriously and eerily isolated. James Orphan is on a mission to win back ex-girlfriend Eilidh and prove that he isn’t nearly as wet as everybody thinks and with that surname we feel sorry for him already. In a scene akin to the Scottish Play and in foul highland weather he meets Old Gracie and her dog, affectionately named Cerberus. She utters a fearful prophecy.

Undeterred, he arrives at his lodgings where he is reprimanded for his late arrival by the no-nonsense and somewhat creepy Mrs Spinge, who is about as adorable as her name sounds. Try saying it out loud a few times and you’ll get the idea. Now contemplate what her malevolently disturbed son Eric Spinge must be like and the damage he can cause. Then there is the ornithologically obsessed Jock, a too-long resident of this sinister settlement, who in ominous tones just keeps popping up everywhere. With the odds stacked against him can the distressed Orphan accomplish his mission before tragedy strikes?

James, the bewildered city boy, is imbued with comic sincerity by Tom Rouvary, and Alex Ciupka as Eilidh matches him all the way in some frantically funny scenes. Ella Bendall seizes the opportunity to reveal just how crotchety Victoria Spinge can be while James Johnson successfully takes eccentric Eric into the realm of the deranged. Marc Mackinnon as Jock demonstrates a masterful use of voice and multiple facial expressions that are magical. Meanwhile Midge Parry is still doing a wonderful turn ominously lurking at the bus stop in the form of Old Gracie with frightening forebodings and doubling as Sinead to keep an eye and indeed aye on the action.

Styx is simple, entertaining and very funny; the sort of show you just can’t help but enjoy. All that remains is to see how it unfolds. Do it. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be guaranteed a few surprises. 

Reviews by Richard Beck

503 Theatre St

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The Blurb

A tragicomic thriller about love and accidental murder. Loosely based on the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, Styx is a whirlwind romance of intrigue, grotesquery, and bad puns. James Orphan must venture to the isolated village of Styx, win back his ex-girlfriend and prove that he’s not as wet as everybody thinks. But will the egg of fate be overcooked?

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