Achilles In Heels was suggested by a painting of “Achilles discovered amongst the daughters of Lycomedes” by Jan de Bray in the catalogue of the National Gallery of Poland in Warsaw.
The Greek myth
I’d been looking for a comic Greek myth subject for some years and was knocked out by this little known, totally outrageous, ludicrous story. Apparently, according to the Roman poet Ovid, the Greek hero Achilles was hidden away by his mother, Thetis, after an oracle announced that he would die in the Trojan War. Her hiding place of choice for the boy was for him to be disguised as a girl amongst her brother’s daughters on the island of Skyros.
Subsequently, King Odysseus found out the boy’s whereabouts and forced him to identify himself by the ruse of slipping a sword amongst a tray of frou-frou girlie things shown by a visiting pedlar (Odysseus himself in disguise).
The musical version
Whilst following the skeleton of the story almost exactly, my version turns characters and their motivations completely on their heads. In the original story, Odysseus is the hero whereas in Achilles In Heels he’s a warmongering braggart.
The title was suggested to me by Joanna Brookes, who often directs me in cabaret, the moment I’d finished telling her the story. I immediately realised that that was exactly the title of the piece I wanted to write.
Achilles In Heels had workshops, under the musical direction of Mark Warman, with students of the Musical Theatre Course at the Royal Academy of Music in the spring of 2003. The role of Achilles was taken by Jonathan Eio who went on to play the roles of Patroclus and then Zeno the tutor when the piece was finally produced at the Landor Theatre in March 2006. Here, after a dodgy start, it went on to sell-out houses for the last ten days and so was reprised in November of the same year.
It was difficult choosing between the Odysseus of Jaymz Denning, in the March production, and Paul L Martin later in the year, so I’ve tossed a coin and here’s Jaymz doing Odysseus’s big act one number.
Then Adele Anderson’s bravura “Little Monsters”, March’s Achilles, Russell Walker in “Pyrrha’s Lament” and with Jonathan Eio as Patroclus in “Feeling Things”.
Finally the November cast, Sarah Applewood and Jonathan Eio as Diodeima and Zeno, Errol Clayton and Nathan Kiley as Patroclus and Achilles, all worrying that “Love Is Wrong”.
|Odysseus on Ithaka:|
|Watch songs from
Achilles In Heels
|Little Monsters:||Pyrrha's Lament:|
|Feeling Things:||Love is Wrong:|