Review: Remythed, VAULT Festival

Myths and legends are queered up magnificently in the frankly brilliant Remythed at VAULT Festival

“Do you mind if I tell you a story?”

Remythed promises “stories, tales and legends; retold, reclaimed, reimagined” and it certainly delivers, cultivating an air of convivial joyousness right from the moment we enter the Pit. The company of five storytellers are mixing it with us – hugs and kisses, compliments on my woolly hat, offers of a selfie with a bust of Apollo…it’s a genuinely relaxed vibe that flows up onto the stage as the lights dim for what feels less a theatre show and more a shared conversation with five pals (who you wish really were your pals).

Developed by Roann Hassani McCloskey and Joel Samuels (whose 2019 VAULT show A Wake In Progress ranks as an all-time fave), the intent here is to queer up the cis, straight default that has been allowed to define our myth-making across multiple cultures. So we revisit the stories of people like Scheherazade, Lady Godiva and Anansi but with the inclusion of the queer people who have always been here and who will always be here, no matter what pernicious political rhetoric is launched and relaunched our way.

And thus, queer joy abounds – the emotive potential of myths has long been transportative, but there’s no substitute for the power of a more inclusive outlook on life. Seeing Lilith reject gender norms even as the first woman is extraordinary, more enbies in the Garden of Eden please! Watching Lady Godiva fall for her tailor, a spinster called Tommy, proves to be one of the most erotic things I’ve seen all years. There’s a similar thrilling charge to watching Anansi guide a gay Black man to a place of self-love in a dating world ruled by ‘no fats, no femmes, no blacks’.

As the company of Hassani McCloskey, Samuels, Lucy Roslyn, Emile Clarke and Ishmael Kirby as drag king/thing! Cyro conjure up these worlds of queer inclusivity, they too operate in an inclusive space. Sharing the leads between them, they each dip in and out of each other’s stories as supporting characters and moral support too, always coming back together to form a gorgeous tableaux, an expressive physical language further binding them together. God-tier levels of theatrical magic.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Remythed is booking at VAULT Festival until 12th March

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