IT seems appropriate that one of the world’s greatest storytellers is telling some of the world’s greatest stories.

Stephen Fry is undertaking his first UK tour in nearly 40 years and he is not doing it by halves with his presentation of a trilogy of plays about Greek gods, heroes and men that he feels still resonate to this day.

Mythos – Greek for ‘story’ – is split into three separate shows which audiences can buy tickets for individually or they can go to all three and appreciate the running themes between them.

He said: “I tried Mythos out at the Shaw Festival in Canada last year, and it went so well.

“It was also a really interesting use of the stage – it’s not stand-up comedy and it’s not drama. It felt like a new genre, and yet it’s the oldest genre there is – gathering people round the fire to tell them the story of how everything began.”

The enduring power of the Greek myths is mirrored in the fact that they continue to reverberate in modern literature.

Stephen, best know for QI, Blackadder and Fry and Laurie, added: “The stories cast a kind of spell if you are telling them right.

“Two of the most popular ‘man-made’ mythological sequences are the Tolkien and the JK Rowling series – I suppose you could add to that the Marvel Comics Universe and Game of Thrones to that mix.

“‎They owe everything to Greek myths. The moment you are inside that story, it’s more universal because it’s about the human spirit without it actually being about living in London, or living in Manchester, or living in New York, which is a very specific thing.

“I think that’s why people flock to see things like The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers or Game of Thrones. You have the elemental nature of greed, betrayal, lust, love, passion – these human virtues and vices are all on display.”

Stephen also wants to shake off any preconceptions of these stories and make them more appealing and accessible.

‘It’s welcoming you into this fantastic world, which is universal, sexy, juicy and full of fury and rage and adventures’

He said: “I hope I can take the smell of the school out of Greek myths because a lot of people associate them with a so-called classical education and believe that you have to be intellectual to understand them.‎

“But that’s just not the case. It’s not a test of intelligence, it’s quite the reverse. It’s welcoming you into this fantastic world, which is universal, sexy, juicy and full of fury and rage and adventures.”

The other amazing thing about these stories is that they contain so many parallels with contemporary life.

Stephen added: “The story of Pandora’s Box is very much analogous with the rise of the internet. The Greeks understood that if something was too good to be true, then it was too good to be true. Everything casts a shadow – it took us a little bit of time to realise that the internet was casting a shadow. Pandora means gifted – she was given all the gifts of all the different Gods: wisdom, beauty, prophecy, art and music and so on.

“But she was also given this box which she was told she wasn’t to open. I was incredibly naive.‎ When I was a very early user of the internet, I was a huge evangelist for it – I thought that it would solve the problems of the world. I thought, ‘Boundaries will dissolve and tribal divides and hatreds will disappear, and we’ll all suddenly understand each other.‎

“Pandora opened a box and out flew all these creatures who destroyed the world in which humans lived. This world without pain was suddenly infested with the creatures from her box – war, famine, lies, murder, betrayal, lust and anger.

“Similarly, at some point in the first decade of this century, the lid of the box came off the internet, and trolls, abusers, groomers, misinformation, viruses all flew out. That can sound very pessimistic, but the lesson is that life can be very tough.

“The most important thing is that the audience realise just how approachable the Greek myths are.

“These are the creations of ordinary people. They are all our ancestors. Poets and playwrights may have used them for their plays, but that’s a different thing. These are stories from all of us.”

  • Stephen Fry is bringing the three parts of Mythos to The Lowry in Salford Quays on August 30 and 31