FRINGE REVIEW – Legend, Obstacle Productions @ C


 1750 (1840) until 30th Aug  @ C Soco

By Emily P

In Greek myth Theseus’s son Demophon becomes a King of Athens via a bout of boyish larks in the Trojan War. His name isn’t the most famous or glamorous in the books however. And it is a complete reimagining of the career of the great hero’s son which is the Legendary subject of this 45 minute showcase of solid young talent from Obstacle Productions.
With little to do with his young life in the Minotaur-free calm of peace-time, Demophon sets off by boat to find excitement – presumably in the shape of monsters to persecute. However, a helpfully fateful storm pitches him up on an unfamiliar island whose only apparent occupants are a hot and attractively naive girl and her loo-lah father. Cue Demophon’s desired adventure which is succinctly brought to life by this capable production.
Demophon, in the tradition of classic heroes, is vacuous and the heroine Cora little more than a pretty piece of set dressing for her father and lover to fight over. The two actors do well with the appropriately two-dimensional characters, even if Demophon’s acting is a bit Principle Boy and his moments alone onstage are the weakest. But this is the nature of the great classical fables – where the mystics and monsters such as Oeneiro and the tyrants like Kalistrate are more appealing in their conflicted circumstances and get all the best lines. The portrayal of these two characters is strong and expressive and if there were more depth to be drawn from the scenario it would be to explore Kalistrate’s motivation and psyche more thoroughly.

The premise for the prologue and narration is superbly set-up. The comic verse of the commentators is enjoyable without being obtrusive and is likably performed. The script has been crafted with consideration and the performances and staging is tight, the latter often inventive. Favourite moments were the use of shadow silhouettes and the physicality of moments of high drama such as the dream sequences or Kalistrate and Demophon’s confrontation.
The production does not develop its own legend far enough however, leaving the cast untested by more challenging material.

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