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Stephen Fry tells tale of Gods at first of three Birmingham shows - review

Storytelling - it's the earliest form of entertainment that enthralled our ancestors and paved the way for blockbuster films and gripping TV series as we know them.

Stephen Fry's Mythos tour is in Birmingham for three shows
Stephen Fry's Mythos tour is in Birmingham for three shows

And last night legendary actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry went back to basics as he brought the first night of his Mythos tour to Birmingham's Symphony Hall.

The 62-year-old QI boffin took to a city centre stage simply adorned with a leather chair and plain screens to tell the tales of the powerful Greek gods.

Though simple in its premise and execution, Fry's dazzling intellect and effortless charisma ensured that the audience were in for a thrill ride of birth, death, sex, scandal and intrigue.

Right from the beginning with the birth of Gaia and her union with Uranus through to their son Cronus usurping the throne and ruling the Titans, and the birth of Zeus and forming of the gods and Mount Olympus, Fry kept the audience spellbound.

Purely using his words and simple graphics on the background screens, the scholar had each and every audience member hooked on his every word, eager to hear what happened next.

His perfect blend of knowledge and wit had the audience laughing heartily, as if we were simply sat at home by the fireplace enjoying an evening recapping our days.

The emotive way in which he expressed the tales told of his passion for myth, and allowed every crowd member to be immersed within the stories.

We felt dread and anticipation as Pandora peeked into her jug, and felt relief as Persephone was saved from the grips of Hades.

Fry peppered his stories with a Trivial Pursuit-inspired game - aptly named Mythical Pursuit - as well as facts relating to language and the Greek influence on our modern dialect.

Informative, educational and fun, Gods aimed to both teach the audience about the intricate mythology of the ancient Greeks, as well as spark a passion for the art of storytelling - something I believe the star achieved flawlessly by the end of his two-hour-long show.

Following a short interval, Fry opened the show up to questions from the audience. In a section known as The Oracle, the room was encouraged to send in any questions, covering everything from Fry's shoe size through to who was the most attractive god and who originally wrote down these myths.

No matter how weird or wonderful the question, our host answered with enthusiasm and awe-inspiring intellect that furthered the intimate atmosphere of the show.

Ending on the creation of man from clay and the demise of Midas and Prometheus, Fry earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience.

There are few people on this earth that could captivate a live audience using only their words and no flashy gimmicks, but Fry left the entirety of Birmingham Symphony Hall enlightened following an insightful evening of storytelling.

Mythos continues tonight with Heroes, and culminates on Thursday with Men.

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