If I were choosing subject matter for a kids show, Greek Mythology wouldn’t be where I started; kids don’t have the best lot in these stories, being abandoned and even being sent off to be eaten by mythical beasts. However, Backhand Theatre have managed to pick out the few stories that could have been aimed at children, focusing instead on the monsters and heroes that first introduce children to the world of the Greeks.
Backhand Theatre’s performers are excellent at interaction, speaking directly to the kids and attempting to involve them as much as possible. Children have the chance to hold the thread to help Theseus make his way out of the Labyrinth and take part in some he’s behind you moments with Hades and Persephone. These are the highlights of the show and if they had used their ability to get the kids involved more frequently this would have been a better show.
Unfortunately, the three actors’ storytelling can often become monotonous and isolating. This leads to a lot of fidgeting in the audience and when the interaction resurfaces from the story the kids have to be addressed twice to wake them up. This issue twins with the distinct homemade feel of the performance; the puppets used to convey the heroes of look like creepy papier mache greek masks rather than endearing characters. However, the minotaur puppet was brilliant and genuinely frightening.
There was an effort to include the parents, with the odd pop culture reference thrown in to bring them out of the stupor brought on by the repetitive storytelling. This is a little like the Asphodel Meadows, not bad but ultimately neutral.