The brain is a wonderful machine. Able to store incredible amounts of information and produce a huge range of feelings and emotions. But what happens when it stops working properly? How can we salvage those precious moments, the knowledge and memories built over a lifetime?
Led by Max Barton, the seven-strong band Second Body addresses this matter in an emotional musical journey. Interspersed with poetry, verbatim and a live score, it tells the story of how Max’s grandparents met and founded the Orpheus Music Club in the 1950s.
Klezmer-inspired rock songs and neuroscientific digressions are all interwoven with the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Separated from his beloved wife by death, the grieving demigod uses his sweetest music to convince the lord of the dead Hades to let her go. As part of his mission, Orpheus has to cross the river Styx, which marks the border between earth and the Underworld.
Sat against a black background and framed by Jethro Cooke’s incandescent lighting, the band looks like an old sepia-toned photograph. Suspended at different heights, several light bulbs are mostly switched off, like soap bubbles floating above their heads. Mesmerised by this eerie vision, the audience doesn’t even clap between songs, impatient to hear how the story unfolds.
The gorgeous live music contributes to recreate the underground club setting. I find myself imagining the barely lit surroundings, the low ceilings, the small wooden tables and the whisky served neat in crystal tumblers. With great surprise, whisky actually features in a later scene.
This is a show about eternal love, cherished memories and how music, as a supernatural force, can bring back to life the people and the moments that are no longer with us. Multisensorial, fascinating, deeply moving, STYX evoked in me the same melancholy I’d have for rediscovering an old record.
Text, Music and Lyrics by: Max Barton
Sound and Lighting Designs by: Jethro Cooke
Produced by: Jack Hudson for Second Body
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/styx
Booking Until: 17 August 2019