A very clever collaboration, Spymonkey and Kneehigh Theatre, this is of course extremely complex… and very silly, boldly going all over the place, complete with singing (badly); music; dance; acrobatics. Along with Ancient Greece, Space Age fantasy and James Bond, incorporating a couple of pantomime dames and David Bowie on a bad hair day.
But if witty dialogue doesn’t always do the trick, bring on the empty horses, or in this case, sheep. Costume overall was deliciously funny, whether as simple as winding sheets (literally) or elaborately contrived and staging brilliantly basic: a white fitted wardrobe, concealing ladders plus all sorts of things: people, costume and props.
Admittedly, there is something intrinsically funny having a fifty year old, Stephan Kreiss, play a teenager. Both he and Aitor Basauri (Laius, amongst many, many others) do most of the heavily accented clowning, while Toby Park, veering between clown and stooge, in his serious moments sometimes manages to be the funniest of the lot. And full credit to Petra Massey as Jocasta, but also magnificently skittish as a very modern day Eartha Kitt, aka the Sphinx.
You get the impression that the company relishes mistakes because they always manage to go with the flow. On the other hand, it can be tricky interrupting with personal monologues on the lines of ‘regrets, I’ve had rather a lot’, although the stand up comedy routine worked – largely because it didn’t.
A show which is difficult to describe without giving the game away about their more spectacular efforts and effects – you do have to be there. Not exactly something to which you’d be bringing your Mum and Dad, far less your offspring, it’s nonetheless classically crazy, mixed up, and refreshingly original.
- Carole Baldock