Revenge of the Myth @ Art Room at Girls School
Thursday, January 28, 2021
For all small theatre groups, getting a start is a difficult world. Your work needs to stand out, it should be engaging, perhaps comical. It needs a good stage, phenomenal actors, and a brilliant presence which fills the show with awe, which is no small feat. But be assured that if any small group is worth seeing, then Revenge of The Myth from Muppets on a Bender will make it worth your while.
Revenge of The Myth is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, through the lives of five roommates stuck during COVID quarantine. With references abounding from Star Wars and The Lion King, this strange and animalistic tale fills the senses with wonder, and examines how our own humanity can be transformed.
As the audience ascended the stairs up to the Art Room of Girls School, the small space was almost instantly lit up. The stage was painted in soft purples as a set of a simple chair, a radio, and a Hungry Jack’s Kid’s Meal Crown sat idly away. The three witches announced their stage presence with a flurry of hands and hushed voices, the enactors of fate and destiny, and some very amusing government warnings, yet they were clearly just as eager to twist the fates and minds of the five housemates as the audience was to watch.
The introduction to the household was a familiar tale of young adulthood, a weekend bender of drinks, Monopoly, and the idealised battle scenario of ultimate dodgeball. The characters were adapted to fit the setting. Duncan assumed the position of the household’s king, dressed in cargo shorts and a polo; MacDuff, is resident Whovian; Banquo an awkward Star Wars nerd; Lady Macbeth, cutthroat and formidable; and Macbeth, soon to be Lord of the Bender, eventually King of The Household. However, as quarantine soon set in, our core five found themselves in a power struggle. The toss between following Duncan’s vegan regime, or killing him to end the tyranny – savouring their humanities or resorting to their more animalistic nature.
Filled in with cheeky references, these moments of pure drama and tension could very easily become lifted with a simple request for a lightsaber rather than a sword. However, the comedy certainly didn’t detract from the true think piece at hand, questioning whether any one member of the household was actually in the right, and with the bigger question at large – how do we manage and maintain ourselves within quarantine? And more importantly, now that we’re out and about again, how do we ease up the tensions that still linger; and what loose ends still need to be tied up?
The stage that the performers had been given was unfortunately not an ideal setup, as many who have done theatre before can lament. The smaller stage meant cutting down much of the play and it’s extended sequences, along with a restricted set and minimal space for actors to change costume and gather props when not needed onstage. And while the production was gorgeous, the lack of stage space did show. Many sequences were played out between stage and floor, making it difficult to truly see the actors crouch or bend without sitting in the very front row. While the play overall was a brilliant experience, there was definitely the feeling that if it was just a little longer, then perhaps we’d see a more fleshed out and emotional experience.
Revenge of The Myth comes with high praise for its brilliant production and is let down only in its unfortunate stage circumstances. It’s an enjoyable experience both for lovers of Shakespeare and anyone who simply needs a good laugh. Bring your housemates, bring your loved ones, bring those people who couldn’t stand you by the second week of quarantine. After such a delightful debut, it will be exciting to see what Muppets on a Bender bring us next.