Vergil A Mythological Musical

4.9/5

Critic Rating

You may think you know Vergil’s epic poem, The Aeneid -- the story of Aeneas, a Trojan hero, prophesized to found Rome. Or maybe you’ve heard of the fearsome Cyclopes, the tragic queen Dido, the Trojan horse, the River Styx and the three headed dog who guards the underworld. But what of the man who wrote it and why? This is that story. This time, full of warrior queens, rebels, queer poets and pirate women which begins in Greece, in 19BC. Vergil has been commissioned by the Emperor Augustus to write an epic poem to glorify himself and Rome, but he isn't remotely done writing - he's eleven years into a bout of writers block. In the harbour, returning from her own Sapphic heartbreak, is his former student, Sulpicia, who boards the ship and demands to hear the Aeneid, with her own agenda - or that of Augustus. This musical reinvents Rome's national poem as a tale of two writers figuring out how to change the world. Written by New York Times best seller Maria Dahvana Headley and featuring a myriad of marginalised and overlooked characters, in a swashbuckling adventure, fighting back against the oppressive Roman Empire and shining a brilliant light on hidden history. Vergil and Sulpicia embark on a voyage through the history of both epic poems and empire, as they try to finish the poem before the emperor catches up with them. Together, they'll braid a subversive narrative into the Aeneid through soaring ballads, poppy bangers, barber shop quartets, and comedy raps. This musical journey features over 25 songs composed by Alexandra Braithwaite, Elizabeth Purnell and Joseph Keckler, and sung by the cast lead by Will Young and Claudia Kariuki, with Derek Jacobi, Le Gateau Chocolat, Alice Fearn, John Partridge and Divina de Campo. Also starring: Alžbeta Matyšáková, Ani Nelson, Ashley Zhangazha, Ashok Gupta, Beth Hinton-Lever, Cavin Cornwall, Dan Collins, Douglas Jones, Ella Djurovich,Frewyn Thursfield, George Georgiou, Gordon Kennedy, Harrison Knights, Jacoba Williams, Jonathan Case, Luke Hammond, Mark Hannah, Max Runham, Michael Kosko, Nadim Naaman, Olivier Huband, Olugbeminiyi Bammodu, Oscar Hansen, Raj Ghatak, Robyn Mcintyre, Romeo Mika, Sam Howard-Sneyd, Sharan Phull, Shaun Mendum, Silas Carson, Tachia Newall, Tonderai Munyevu, Tristan Waterson and William Collison. With special thanks to London Musical Theatre Orchestra Singers, conducted by Freddie Tapner. Directed by Polly Thomas. Musical direction by Harrison Knights. Produced by Naked Productions for Audible Originals


Critic Reviews

Score: 4.9

Hollie Richardson • The Guardian Jun 22, 2023

"A Will Young-led musical podcast about the charismatic poet behind The Aeneid. Rapping! Pirate princesses! Drag Race’s Divina de Campo! It’s certainly different."

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