Minotaur at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon - review

Ben Stott as Theseus in Minotaur, by Robert Workman

Ben Stott as Theseus in Minotaur, by Robert Workman - Credit: Archant

The Polka Theatre has developed a reputation for presenting thought-provoking pieces that speak to adults and children alike. This Spring production of Minotaur adds to that reputation, presenting the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur in a fascinating modern-day parallel. The switching back and forth between two timelines does at times require some pretty radical gear changes in the brain and the plot moved forward a little too rapidly at times, but by and large, the concept worked well.

Ben Stott is convincing as Freddie, the modern-day boy whose father has been deployed to a war zone. Freddie must travel back in time to become Theseus and slay the Minotaur to rescue his legendary father - a man seemingly in just as dire straits as Freddie’s modern-day soldier dad. There are touching performances from Sanchia McCormack as Freddie’s concerned mother and Carla Langley as the alluring Gypsy Queen who helps Freddie/Theseus with his quest and later, as the feisty Ariadne, wins his heart.

Liza Sadovy is charismatic as the chilly villain Pasiphae, while James Hirst’s calm, measured performance as father to both Freddie and Theseus offers a nice balance to, at times, some over dramatic delivery on stage. Finally, Michael Grady-Hall’s presentation of Pasiphae’s brain-damaged son is extremely touching and at times difficult to watch.

Minotaur will appeal greatly to epic-loving, computer gaming youngsters who are used to following plotlines that jump about a bit. They and their families will be especially impressed with Tim Lutkin’s superbly evocative lighting scheme and Lily Arnold’s epic set and costumes. Another highlight is Sue Dacre’s Minotaur puppet, while Terry King’s choreographed fights are fun and exciting to watch.

• Minotaur runs at the Polka Theatre until May 24. Tickets can be bought online at www.polkatheatre.com or by phone on 020 8543 4888.