From the moment he walked on stage at the New Theatre and began speaking, Stephen Fry had his audience completely captivated. The stage was very simple, with just a Chesterfield-like armchair and a side table with a glass of water. So as soon as he began, we were immediately immersed in his stories, as if sitting in his living room.

The Greek myths can be very complicated, and it is easy to get lost among all those gods, titans, heroes and so on, and their complex relationships. Not with Fry as your guide, though. Just as Stephen Hawking could take the most complex laws of physics and explain them so that even a layman could understand, so Fry takes the Greek myths and makes them equally accessible and hugely entertaining.

In guiding us through these captivating tales, Fry’s razor-sharp wit and comedy genius were much in evidence. He gave a number of the characters regional British and foreign accents which, while very funny, made the characters even more identifiable and immediately distinguishable.

Oxford Mail:

We had characters with Northern accents, some – such as Theseus – with West Midlands voices, Cassiopeia was broad Welsh, while King Eurystheus’s aggressive Belfast accent bore more than a passing resemblance to that of the late Rev Ian Paisley.

Fry’s delivery of the myths – performed over three consecutive nights – was enhanced by his incredibly deep understanding of the subject matter, coupled with an obvious burning personal passion and love for the stories that shone through in every word.

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Fry’s communication skills are second to none. Often touted as one of the brainiest people in Britain, he is also one of our great orators.

At the interval of each show the audience had the opportunity to email questions to the ‘Oracle of Del-Fry’, some of which he answered at the start of the second half.

The questions ranged from sarcastic wisecracks, such as ‘where is the autocue?’ or ‘will interval ice-cream ever be affordable?’, to some extremely deep and intriguing enquires. One such question referred to the future of AI and the human race. This gave Fry the opportunity to go off on a tangent, delivering a profound answer relating the issue of artificial intelligence to the myth of Prometheus.

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The titan Prometheus, of course, formed the human race out of clay for Zeus but went against Zeus’s wish, first stealing the divine fire from Olympus and then giving it to the human race – thus installing the fear in Zeus that people may level-up to the gods and one day possibly overthrow them or no longer need them.

Oxford Mail: Fry explained how these myths would have been shared around a fire or hearth, and that while people still sit around a rather different glowing object, nowadays – the TV– our lives are becoming more fragmented as we sit in different rooms using different devices. Thus, he says, it is important that we keep the tradition of storytelling alive.

Surely there could be no better argument for preserving this tradition than these three shows.

Klara Polanski & Warren Fergusson   5/5