Two men stand on a slim stage beneath the open sky, tucked amongst the foliage of the International Rose Garden. One nurses a much-loved leather notebook, the other cradles a guitar enamored with familiarity. It is in many ways the perfect place to take in a modernised tale of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus.
Except our Orpheus isn’t the son of king Thrace Oeagrus and the muse Calliope – he is Dave: a single, 30-year-old man slogging out a dreary and lonesome life in the backstreets of Northern England.
Dave’s destiny shifts inside a dinghy karaoke bar where he falls for Eurydice, a tree nymph. Tragedy soon follows and so too does a heroic descent into the depths of Hades’ Underworld.
This death-defying love story is exuded into the open air through spoken-word by the ever-so-talented Alexander Wright, who is flanked by soulful renditions of Bruce Springsteen by Phil Grainger. The pair have worked together since they were 14 and their symbiotic relationship is something to behold.
Wright is witty, charming and earnest in his retelling of this tale. The over-romanticisation of love can be a little nauseating and the constant references to butterflies, rainbows and a gleaming world of colour are a little too trite. But overall, the show’s ability to capture the intensity and magnitude of newfound love is unrivaled. This is a performance that can transcend time – a near perfect simulation for faded, lost or forgotten love.