Review by Taylor Kendal
A keyboard draped in vines under the stars. A friendly rose garden nymph ready to take us on a journey through myth, legend, and fantasy. And, just like every good tale, it begins with once upon a time…
Showcased this year at Adelaide Fringe is Myths, Legends and Fantasy, a one-woman otherworldly journey, written and performed by Emma Knights. Now many people know of myths and legends of old, and in her woodland nymph form, Knights provides exposition as to the difference between the two, and the element of fantasy in stories and worlds of make believe. Myths and legends were once believed in, with some believable element of truth to them at the time, while fantasy is and always has been a suspension of belief. Through these themes, Knights brings to life stories of old, focusing on the women in these tales, and how they are often depicted as monsters, evil and full of vengeance, and how man should be fearful of these powerful creatures. Well…where is the lie in that part?
Gifted with a sweet, folksy voice and a gift for both song writing and storytelling, Knights has a talent for bringing these women to life through song, and how their tales can often at times reflect the realities of the modern world we live in. Prominent characters in mythology and legend such as Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who was loyal and faithful to her journeying husband; Eurydice, who perhaps would have done things differently if she were in her lover Orpheus’ shoes; and Pandora, whose curiosity and story had been mistranslated and rewritten by history.
As a fan of all the above, this show was a treat in so many ways. The effortless way that Knights embodies her onstage persona, and how she brings these characters to life through song and how the lives they lead are more relatable to our modern-day world than one might initially think. There is, after all, a reason that these legends and stories have survived for so very long.
There are many themes throughout the one-hour expedition, but theme of the power of women; women saving themselves and that everyone can be their own hero is something that, while becoming more prevalent in today’s world, is something that so many are in need of reminding, and it’s a rather beautiful concept to think about, especially when delivered through Knights’ profound skill with the written and spoken word.
Woven throughout the performance are several original songs written and performed by Knights. With varying style and tone, they pair well with the stories that they are capturing, and their sweet melodies and stunning lyrics not only paint a beautiful picture but tend to resonate deep within the soul of the audience. I personally found a deep appreciation and reverence for the song ‘The Absence of Your Voice’. Hauntingly beautiful.
Myths, Legends and Fantasy is a simple production that does not requite elaborate staging or dramatic effects to convey its story. All it needs is a talented wood nymph and her keyboard, and her heart and soul poured into the stories she wishes to unfold. For fans of fine storytelling and whimsical, song writing and a deep dive into a world of wonder, this is one show not to be missed.