Styx is a powerful, thought provoking and deeply sensory journey into the neuroscience of memory through a mythological theatre concert.
What unfolded delighted my eyes and ears.
I loved it on many levels – the intelligence of the concept, the unique experiential audio and the emotional responses it triggered in me.
It was a complex and clever show that can be enjoyed on multiple levels. Intriguing, captivating and haunting, it left me thinking about it long after it ended.
The Swinehounds is a seven-piece band, a Perth supergroup and two theatre making musicians from the UK.
Styx is a world premiere and in it, Barton weaved aspects of neuroscience and quantum physics into his quest, with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, through storytelling, and the power of music that pervades and connect us all.
It’s the deeply personal story of Barton and Axe’s grandparents’ decline due to Alzheimer’s and how memories can be both lost and created.
The band was exceptional in the way they each contributed to the story as both actors and musicians.
The set was minimal and evocative of the European underground salons of the 1930’s with the performers dressed androgynously in retro black and white, but with a funky twist.
I enjoyed the theatrical effects created through ingenious use of lighting and audio recordings that gave depth to the performance.
Axe’s voice was so unexpectedly stirring I felt transported into the story, simply through sound, like Orpheus’s lyre, and connected to it as if it was a shared memory.
It was a fascinating experience.
The music was all original pieces, a unique eclectic mix of styles and pace including sax and even a banjo made an appearance.
Standouts for me were the song of descent into oblivion, Lethe, and the poignantly touching final melody, which brought everything together and left me feeling slightly sad and yet satisfied.
I felt involved in the quest as if I’d been on it myself and discovered new ways of thinking that left me all the better for it.