Left lame after being cast down from Olympus, frequently cuckolded by his lovely but faithful wife Aphrodite, the Greek blacksmith god Hephaestus now faces what may be his greatest indignity yet: presiding over a divine factory that seems one part “Willy Wonka” and one part “Blue Man Group.” Lookingglass’ “Hephaestus” provides the thinnest of dramatic excuses for an extended series of circus vignettes. Creator Tony Hernandez has assembled a remarkable group of performers, including former members of the Wallenda family and Cirque de Soleil. Many of the individual routines are spectacular. Olga Pikhienko poses impossibly upon a set of bird-sized perches as an acrobatic Aphrodite, while Almas Meirmanov’s explosive Ares dangles effortlessly on a single cord. Hernandez has devised a Ringling Bros.-worthy finale, involving a chair balanced upon a bar upon a tightrope. But unlike last year’s masterful “Lookingglass Alice,” the thrills in “Hephaestus” are almost purely visceral, a matter of physical and not dramatic arcs. The isolation of the individual performances highlights the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters. Like a tuft of cotton candy, “Hephaestus” provokes a childlike glee, but the experience quickly melts away. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.