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Review: God Catcher at Underbelly Bristo Square – Ed Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford

When it comes to new musicals at Edinburgh Fringe, there are a lot to choose from – but if you want to see something that is beautifully unique, add ‘God Catcher’ to your watch list.

The show, created by Cassie Muise and Tyler McKinnon, is a re-imagining of the myth of Arachne, a figure in Greek mythology whose name means “spider”. It features a slew of Greek Gods, including Athena, Zeus and Hermes, the Elders of the town of Hypaepa, and ‘mortals’ who are tasked with worshipping the Gods. But don’t worry, even if your Greek mythology knowledge isn’t too good, the show ascends beyond a history lesson and is a beautiful and refreshing piece of new musical theatre.

First of all, every performer in this show is giving a fantastically strong performance. Overall, it’s a stunning ensemble piece, and they all worked very effectively together to present a range of mythological stories in an energetic and engaging way. I particularly enjoyed Ellie McConnachie as Agape, Colum Findlay as Hermes, and Isabella Gervais as Athena, but the show belongs to its star, Yna Tresvalles as Arachne.

Yna was magnetic, had a beautiful voice, and kept the pace of the show very effectively – I’m sure this performer will have a very bright future.

The set was minimal, but was used very creatively. Much of the plot focused on Arachne’s weaving with her mother, and this was beautifully illustrated in the ensemble’s movement into a frame with a light webbing. Shadow puppetry by Chantelle Micalef-Grimaud was a lovely touch also. Becky Hope-Palmer’s direction is phenomenal, and has created some stunning moments for every member of the cast.

The harmonies were tight and interesting, and I really loved the creativity in the lyricism – props to Tyler McKinnon and additional lyrics by Cassie Muise. The show was accompanied by a small band, under Shonagh Murray’s musical director and percussion by Ruaridh Neil and Noah Chalamanda. The show played in quite a large space, but this stripped back musical accompaniment made it feel really atmospheric and intimate, and sounded lovely.

I was very engaged throughout the entire show, and thought everyone involved has done a wonderful job in distilling somewhat complex mythological stories into digestible scenes and songs. The added flair that only a musical can give was evident in a late-in-the-piece show stopping number, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger”, which brought the house down. I also loved an early ensemble number, “Who’s Who”, which had a fascinating rhythm and again, some lovely complex harmonies that the cast nailed.

This is a really heartwarming and beautiful piece of theatre that I was lucky to catch this Fringe season. I predict it will have a life post-Fringe, and look forward to seeing how far its talented creatives will take it.

Image Supplied


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