[Victoria, BC] The Muses are with Chimera Theatre’s Perseus & Andromeda

5 Sep

CrYHXGqUAAEnomdBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

If only the 2010 remake of the classic 1981 movie Clash of the Titans was told differently, like as an interpretative dance, then I’d be more receptive to the end product! Kamloops’ based Chimera Theatre is an aptly named company to take on retelling the myth of Perseus and Andromeda at the 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival.

To see when they will take this show on the road again, Andrew G. Cooper (who composed the fantastic new age soundscape and did the choreography) advised keeping an eye on this group’s webpage. Next up will be The Disordered Mind by Cooper, playing from September 9th to October 30th, 2016. Tickets will become available through http://www.kamloopslive.ca

As an avid enthusiast of many an ancient mythology, I was thrilled to see this production played out live and on stage. Since I had the movie retelling on my mind and I knew the myths — however taken more from Euripides partially lost text for this play — I easily followed along to the tale being presented. The performance is not entirely dance based. There’s dialogue here and there to guide the story along. The synergy between the four principal characters – Andromeda (Melissa Thomas), The Naiads / Cassiopeia (Maddison Hartloff), Poseidon/Cepheus (Nich Gulycz) and Perseus/Hades (Cooper) – is certainly there, and the best moments are the dynamic fight sequences.

When Cooper is disguised as the Lord of the Underworld, to see him go through the katas (combat technique) with the battle staff was particularly thrilling. I suspect he studied Kung Fu, because this sequence felt like it was lifted out of Avatar: The Last Airbender and when he’s challenging Poseidon, I was particularly glued to the captivating dance. There is no spoiler to say that the fight with Cetus (the Kraken in the films) felt truly inspired from many a lion dance I’ve seen in Chinatown. Two performers are needed to animate this sea monster and they did a fantastic job at bringing to life the beast with a simple costume (complete with two red glowing eyes) that looks like it truly came from the sea. I could not tell from where I sat to see what was used to give the scales a seaweed like effect.

This show is truly an achievement in bringing to life the Greek myths. The mise en scène is straight out of Greek art like the statue Laocoön and His Sons and this direction is very welcomed. I feel the best stories comes from this world because this ancient culture helped develop many a science or doctrine before the rise of Rome, and the theologies merged into a Greco-Roman realm. This theory is mostly mine than the Joseph Campbell in me talking. Part of how I feel also comes from being a cinema buff who found no pleasure in what Hollywood did with remaking certain 80’s classics. If Clash was not bad enough and Wrath of the Titans had the scorn of many, then some production company will have to take up the slack and recreate the magic that made this myth alive. Fortunately, the love survives on stage without the CGI eye candy.

4 Stars out of 5

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