Average Minotaur

Alex Barr

In Alex Barr's new play, Mino - the average minotaur of the title - is apparently a powerful man in modern-day Greece, but he is locked away from the rest of the world, protected by an impenetrable labyrinth, the entrance to which is in an empty meter cupboard. Here he lives like a slob, having his every need supplied to him and watching news and trashy programmes on a TV helmet shaped like the head of a bull. However perhaps his manservant, the only person who can navigate the labyrinth, is using his position more to serve himself than his master. Is Mino responsible for the evil he allows to be committed around him because of his ignorance?

The play uses the names from the original Greek myth but brings in more modern elements, such as mobile 'phones, television and GPS navigation, and tries to look at issues such as abuse of illegal immigrants, abuse of power and sibling relationships. However it does not really deal with these issues in any depth - merely brushes superficially past them. Mino and his sister Ariadne speak in modern prose, whereas the other characters speak in a slightly stilted way that tries very hard to be lyrical and poetic but rarely achieves this.

There are some reasonable performances; the actor playing Mino is on stage for most of the time and manages to hold it all together, and the actress playing his housekeeper produces an emotional performance. The lighting is pretty awful, using just parcans pointed in the general direction of the stage which light the whole end of the room, not just the stage, (made worse by the white proscenium arch) and leaves a thick shadow two thirds of the way up the backcloth.

This play has a few interesting ideas, but its link with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur seems to be an attempt to give this play some gravitas and does not add anything to the original story. At nearly an hour and three quarters, this is not just rather long for a Fringe production but far too long for the rather thin story it tries to tell.

Reviewer: David Chadderton

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