The Story of Cerberus: A Very Good Boy

MFF23-The-Story-of-Cerberus-A-Very-Good-BoyLovers of legends, dogs, or eccentric storytelling: have I got a show for you at Melbourne Fringe 2023! It’s The Story of Cerberus: A Very Good Boy – a tale with musical elements created and performed by Abigail Banister-Jones. Bow Wow!

Greek myths tell us of the three-headed dog Cerberus: guardian of the gates of the Underworld, and loyal servant to King Hades. Ordinarily, only the dead can pass this fearsome hound. But the odd hero (or, “hero”) has tried their luck when pursuing a quest.

Through appealing tunes played on banjo, ukulele, or keyboard, Banister-Jones delivered engaging accounts of how Cerberus encountered Orpheus (attempting to rescue Eurydice) and Hercules (completing a trial).

Whilst showing maybe touches of Gillian Cosgriff or Minnie Riperton, our performer also had some jazzy note-bending. The inclusion of Irving Berlin’s Stay Down Here Where You Belong (1914) was an inspired way to connect the stories, showing vaudevillian flair.

Less-familiar content gave us further insight into Cerberus, such as his origin story, and his concern for dogs who’ve crossed the river Styx, waiting patiently to be reunited with their masters.

Somewhat appropriately, low-fi images to accompany the story were provided by overhead projector (which I last saw years ago at a “dead formats” art exhibition). There was an undeniable charm to the presentation, which crisply traversed the adventures.

Serious fringe-goers seeking an unusual show in an off-the-beaten track venue will surely appreciate this cute offering. Cerberus is indeed a “very good boy” and his story is presented by a talented performer.

The quest for tickets to this cosy venue might be tough, with only Saturday 7 Oct not yet sold out. If that happens, well, one doesn’t have to be the Oracle of Delphi to know that bigger venues are in Banister-Jones’ near future.

The Story of Cerberus: A Very Good Boy
The Nicholas Building – First Floor, 31 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Performance: Wednesday 4 October 2023
Season continues to 7 October 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: Abigail Banister-Jones (supplied)

Review: Jason Whyte