Review – Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday 27 August 2011

Yet another recommendation: Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Pants on Fire (that’s the name of the theatre group, not what Phil is now calling the people making recommendations).

It’s a mythological dactylic hexameter poem (not another!) describing the history of the world from its creation within a loose mythico-historical framework. Goodness! Surely Phil has more sense than to listen to the two Johns who raved about it so much they went back for a second visit?

Secretly Phil felt it might be more Avoid than Ovid.

Peter Bramley’s version with original songs by Lucy Egger has been neatly updated to World War II, so expect Andrews Sisters style singers, men and women in uniforms, newsreel footage, people walking through cinema screens and some puppetry.

So far, so Kneehigh.

But Ovid waver between Shinhigh and Thighhigh: occasionally it is a bit scrappy, it needs a little tightening up and cutting but mostly it’s highly entertaining, inventively and wittily staged and has moments of considerable elegance. And what this cast can’t do with a set of reversible screens isn’t worth knowing.

The multi-tasking, multi-costume-changing actors are young, talented and maddeningly attractive which is just as well as one of them (Mike Slader) has to play Narcissus as a Hollywood heart throb falling in love with his own image on the cinema screen. Imagine the casting call for that.

Aside from a few minor cavils Phil was unusually grateful for the recommendation.



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