The musical's arrival from over the pond has been a long time coming and on Wednesday night it hits The Lyric Theatre at full force, powered by a diverse cast that breathes new life into the Broadway hit.

The Romeo and Juliet tale that Orpheus and Eurydice follow in Hadestown is timeless, a lovesick pair gunning for tragedy, but what makes Hadestown a must-see is the world that exists around the two protagonists.

There are few stage shows that hook an audience in so effortlessly as the story plunges way down into Hadestown. The gimmicks are non-existent as the show leans on its cast to sweep the theatre up - or rather, down - and away from the hubbub of the city.

Much of that is in no small part down to a pitch-perfect performance from Melanie La Barrie as Hermes - the experienced star has a charisma that could make any tale feel blockbuster.

As the musical takes its dark twist and Orpheus journeys underground, it's La Barrie's brilliance that makes the voyage so haunting. Later on in the night, as the show comes to a close, she soothes the heartbreaking ending with a tale of finding joy in pain as theatregoers swallow lumps in their throats.

Elsewhere, Gloria Onitiri rethinks Persephone with an interpretation that feels far from that of Betty Who's recent show-stealer in New York. Onitri's character is more brooding, all too aware of the dark underbelly of the deal she has cut with Hades.

Onitri is at her best when that comes to the front, click-clacking her way back down to Hadestown. The actress moves up a gear after the interval in a brilliant cabaret for 'Our Lady of the Underground' and it's her tender tear that makes 'Epic III' so convincing.

Zachary James plays her counterpart in Hades. The American's underworld lord is at its best when leaning into a comic side, a kookier villain than his gargantuan stature first suggests.

Once his heart is unfrozen by Orpheus, his jester-like dance makes for the night's funniest moment as the character gets the release he has been craving.

Grace Hodgett Young's Eurydice begins understated but is ready to bloom right before her freedom is snatched from her hands. She's a linchpin to the tale as Dónal Finn's Orpheus endeavours to retrieve his love.

With such excellence on show, Finn must wait for his moment to move from lovesick songwriter into determined young man when he plucks up the courage to head to Hadestown. That's a turning point for the actor, whose performance climaxes just at the right moment - couples lock hands as he croons the opening notes of his song to Hades.

Musical fans will no doubt try and compare Hadestown to the other spectacles gracing the West End, but that's an impossible task. The show exists in its own world and it's one that is truly spellbinding.

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