The tale starts with the over-the-top news reporters Pete Loggin (Pete Baynes) and Katie Expresse (Corinne Harris, who also directs the production) at Athens Harbour.  As they await the return of Theseus’ ship they trade terse verbal quips over the news they are reporting and over their personal relationship.  The verbal slapstick ultimately focuses on the ship’s black sails, an indication that Theseus is dead.
That report reaches Aegeus, Theseus’ father, who, as a result, commits suicide.  The black sails however were an oversight and Theseus (Adam Tomkins) has in fact returned victorious from the battle with the minotaur.  He is however not only victorious but, in his father’s place, he is now King.  He has also returned with a lover, Ariadne, and her sister, Phaedra – both superbly danced (and of that, more anon) by Mayte Beltran.
Lee Gershuny, who wrote the script, is the artistic director and manages the lights, has not felt obliged to stick in fine detail to the mythological original but the major divergences come after Theseus’ landing as he recounts his adventures.  True to tradition, Ariadne’s thread allowed Theseus to escape the labyrinth after he had killed the beast.  Theseus’ encounter however with The Minotaur (again played by Pete Baynes who has to make the challenging transition from the jesting journalist to the sensitive beast ) is no clash of fierce and implacable foes.  To add to the complexity, Mayte Beltran also dances ‘the spirit of the Minotaur’, allowing the monster to be portrayed in sexually ambiguous terms.
This is a tale of “love, lust, trust, and death”, an engagement with Theseus’ own inner demons.  The Minotaur was the idealisation of everything he wished himself to be as well as the epitome of each of his characteristics which he feared and hated.
The monstrous half-man, half-bull is a more perceptive and insightful force than the victorious Theseus.  Theseus in turn loves him with a generosity and a selflessness that he confesses he cannot attain in his love for his father, his son or his lover.  “Yet each man kills the thing he loves,” and what Theseus kills is an integral part of himself and never is he more tender than after the killing.
This is a plain, simple production which explores complex, psychological extremes and universal archetypes in terse, accessible language.  Adam Tomkins is both the epitome of modern man and a quite elemental force.   Mayte Beltran’s dancing, supported by Peter Strandberg’s singing and guitar playing, articulates what is beyond the text and although the connections between flamenco and ancientGreeceare tenuous, she succeeds in hitting a profoundly authentic emotional note.  It is an odd combination but this excellent text, without Mayte Beltran’s sensuous contribution, might not have hit the heights which it achieves.
This is ambitious drama.  It hits its audiences in places of which they were unaware and leaves them both troubled and touched, quite an achievement for a tiny cast in a modest setting with little more in the way of props than a ball of string and two bull masks.
The above article was first published in Lothian Life on 21 August 2012: http://www.lothianlife.co.uk/2012/08/theseus-and-the-minotaur-a-love-story/

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