Theseus and the Minotaur: A Love Story

Flamenco dancing is perhaps not the first thing I would associate with the legend of the Minotaur and indeed neither is the idea that the conflict between the monster and Theseus had anything more to it than simply not wanting to be eaten. Imagine if the title is about a romance between Theseus and the Minotaur itself, I remember joking before I saw the show. Yet bizarrely it actually is and even more bizarrely it actually works. Elements World Theatre has bravely decided to explore these untapped elements of the myth and somehow managed to pull it off.

The play begins at the end with two news reporters covering the triumphant arrival of Theseus and conveniently filling in a great deal of plot information for those unfamiliar with the myth. Yet soon the question is put to Theseus of how much he loves the woman he has brought back with him; the infamous Phaedra. As Theseus ponders this question and his ability to love at all, the story of his fight and flight from Corinth is recounted as are his encounters with Ariadne and the Minotaur itself. The age old question of monster or man is raised and the Minotaur comes off surprisingly well when compared with the incredibly forgetful Theseus. Our sympathies are duly played with.

The play is fully aware of what it is and never gets ahead of itself. Occasionally everyone acknowledges that things can get a little bit silly with the idea that Theseus may love the Minotaur and moments of light humour are enjoyable throughout. The quality of the dancing was excellent too; nothing is quite as intense as being able to actually feel the hammering of flamenco reverberating around a very small and intimate venue.

Occasionally some of the acting falls a bit flat; certainly it does not seem to be quite up to the same standard as the dance and gorgeous music and unfortunately a few lines delivered by the main dancer are lost in her accent. But as it was a first performance, this cannot be said to detract too much at all from the overall experience. I was engrossed and fixated by the show almost from beginning to end regardless and it certainly can be said that it managed to convey its interesting ideas about love and lust across to the audience through a fascinating medium. If dance is not your cup of tea, this show might go down the wrong way but otherwise it is a worthwhile show for those tempted to take a chance and see something quite unlike what else you might find on the Royal Mile.

Reviews by James Beagon

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★★★★★
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★★★
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★★★
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★★★
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★★★★

The Blurb

The fiery rhythms of Flamenco music and dance fuse with a riveting kill or be killed battle of wits between man and monster, reason and lust... revealing the very heart of human identity.