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Labyrinth preview – ‘an impressive blend of exciting text and creative movement’

Tom Mackie finds himself anything but lost in this psychomaniacal retelling of the Theseus and Ariadne myth

Labyrinth tells the story of the Minotaur in King Minos’ labyrinth, with one important difference: it is written from the monster’s point of view. Adapted from the Borges work The House of Asterion, the company has shown a wide range of innovative and enthralling techniques in order to reinvent this ancient myth. Each character has two actors playing them, each revealing different aspects of their personality.

It was interesting to see how the actors interacted with each other, whether it was Asterion, (played by Math Roberts and Harry Berry) battling with his own conflicting personas, or Ariadne (Alma Prelec and Kristen Cope) and Theseus (Patrick Orme and Jeremiah O’Mahony) exploring their relationship together with both visual and verbal language. Working from a script co-written by Nick Smart and Krysianna Papadakis, the actors devised a lot of the scenes themselves, using physical theatre to unite all of the action.

Watching the first scene, in which Asterion tells us of the hardship of his isolation, this physicality becomes integral. The two actors showed themselves to be playing the same character by working so close together, their movements reflecting the other’s speech and entwining in moments of heated tension. The physicality made this scene clear, without being too overpowering, and the movement was choreographed to work seamlessly with the dialogue. This was the same with the second scene I saw, where Ariadne and Theseus both watched the Minotaur, mocking him in his isolation.

Again, physicality was used to bring out the tensions between the two mockers, as the ‘other’ Ariadne and Theseus played out a romantic to and fro. The spacing was masterfully balanced here, and there was always something going on in every corner of the stage, without any one movement taking precedent over the others. Here, Theseus and Ariadne presented a strained relationship, the awkwardness of their communication coming out in Alma Prelec’s delicate portrayal of a fiery Ariadne, while Patrick Orme played up the sadism towards the Minotaur to an unnerving extent.

Labyrinth is set to be an impressive blend of exciting text and creative movement. Though interpretations of such famous myths can sometimes go astray, it seems like the actors and directors have worked hard to inject new life into the story, and to bring out different aspects of each character individually, and their relationships with the others.

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