I’m a great fan of the Greek myths and legends, so I was curious to see what new angle the Haste Theatre Company would find on the well-known story of Theseus and the Minataur. The premise of this all-female piece is a re-telling of the myth by three Greek gods, Aphrodite, Hades and Poseidon. And it was an all-singing, all dancing affair.
The versatile performers, who certainly can sing and dance as well as tell a good story, worked hard to keep the audience involved. Even before we entered the theatre, they accosted us on the stairs – and throughout the play interaction was high on the agenda. At times we were tied up in wool, encouraged to look for heroes, and called on to provide useful fight moves, to name just a few of the participatory interludes.
Most entertaining of all was the full kiss planted on an audience member by Valeria Campagnoni – playing Aphrodite – in the first five minutes of the performance. The unsuspecting guy looked as if all of his Christmases and birthdays had come at once. But, while I'm all for audience participation, I did feel after a while it was a little over-done; you honestly can have too much of a good thing.
There were moments of real creative enjoyment, all the same. The re-creation of the labyrinth is cleverly done; the beautiful rendition of the song “I'm through with love” was accompanied by a haunting clarinet (played by Poseidon, Jesse Dupre), and the skilled choreography of a tap-dancing Minotaur was sheer brilliance, adding a novel twist to the tale. The love scene between the comedic Theseus and composed Ariadne was nicely worked too, courageous, sincere and touching all at once.
It was the first night of the performance and sadly there was a technical hitch in the final scene, although the actors did cover the gap very professionally. Even allowing for that, I found the ending a little flat, and felt the piece was lacking something in the last few minutes. So I left wanting more – but despite this, the company’s energy, commitment and versatility made for an entertaining take on an ancient and often-told story.