Uncle Minotaur

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

03/10/2014 - 18/10/2014

Production Details

Greta is an outsider. The other girls bully her, Dad has left home and Mum is life hacking in cyberspace. And when Greta’s eye surgery doesn’t turn out as planned she starts seeing things that aren’t there. She has to make a choice – is she going to let this ride or get brave and wreak some classical Greek carnage? 

Director Katy Maudlin (Giant Teeth, Odyssey) creates a magical world with enormous puppets, live foley and surrealist design blending dreams and reality.

“Read Classics, kill your monsters.” (Dan Bain)

Uncle Minotaur
The Basement Theatre, Lower Grey’s Ave, Auckland CBD
8.30pm, 3 – 18 Oct
Sunday matinee: 5.30pm, 12th Oct

Foley Artist: Adam Ogle
Puppets: Sarah-Jane Blake (mentor), Lucinda Webber

CAST: Tomasin Fisher-Johnson, Mataara Stokes, Ruby Love, Holly Hudson, Brie Hill, Mohamed Hassan, Nisha Odedra, Geneva Norman, Lutz Hamm, Ella Edward, Brittany Cook

Sound: Thomas Press (mentor), Mel Collocott
Set: John Parker (mentor), Claudine Mailei, Grace Neely
Costumes: Sara Taylor (mentor), Francesca Wilson, Zara O’Rourke, Natasha Hoyland
Lighting: Jane Hakaraia (mentor), Casey Crowley, Shivani Lee

Tying laces before loose ends #2

Review by Matt Baker 07th Oct 2014

Upon reflection, there are some inarguably risqué issues addressed in Uncle Minotaur, the problem, however, is that their impact is upon reflection – not during the drama.

Director Katy Maudlin finds a strong variety of play in Bain’s script, from puppetry to excellent foley sound by Adam Ogle, but is hazy on dissecting motivation and meaning. [More]


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Skilled production but left feeling empty

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 05th Oct 2014

Everything about this production is amazing: the players are talented; the set is lively, well thought out and makes the most extraordinary contribution to the performance; the properties department deserve a medal and the soundscape is inspired!

Adam Ogle is one seriously hip innovation on the one man band with cymbals strapped to his knees, the live Foley (sound effects guy involved in broadcasting in the early 1900s). He is in the corner with a drop down thirties chrome mic, a few strings, a board full of pedals at his left foot, a drum box under his right, and a transistor radio! He is a visible part and a great addition to the whole feel of the piece. 

Everything about this production is stunning, I just wonder about the story…

This is Greek mythology and Mean Girls all rolled into one. And though I took Classical Studies in 6th Form, I really never paid much attention (blame the teacher). Tonight I wish I had paid closer attention. 

We learn pretty quick that Greta (Tomasin Fisher-Johnson) is a bit blind, a bit plain and a lot of a geek. Enter the stunningly clad school yard bitches: bowed scarlet lips, leggings and super-fierce handbags, they snarl and hiss and hair twirl their way from bitch to superbitch status with ease. They are a treat! Well played, especially by Ruby Love (Serena) who leads the pack effortlessly.  So these girls bully our Greta, whose Dad has left home while her Mum (nice job by Brie Hill) is spazzing out in cyberspace.

Greta’s scheduled eye surgery doesn’t turn out as planned and she starts having apparitions. Or are they merely coping mechanisms? Things to keep her in our favour? Essentially she is just as big a bully as Serena, she just does it differently. Enter her example: Greta’s proper tragic relationship with the medicated, tagging uber geek Hamish (Mataara Stokes). Hamish has a little trouble ‘relating’ to people. He gets schooled and dispatched… a little too cruelly perhaps. We all have our damage.

She meets The Minotaur and makes a deal with him to deal with the bullies. Lutz Hamm’s portrayal of The Minotaur is beautiful, he is definitely a hot ticket. Things get a little out of hand, and I start getting a bit lost. Everything is wrapping up but it feels like too soon. 

So, bullying and a love interest combined with medical misadventure. Add in a hobo that hangs out by school and a dodgy Uncle (Minotaur) and you have quite a mix. Certainly a lot to think about at the time, perhaps too much to process so that as quickly as the end comes, I still have questions about what has really happened in this theatre over that past sixty minutes. 

Is this story about whether she is going to face the visions or pretend she’s not seeing? I STILL DON’T KNOW!!! 

I am a big BIG fan of director Katy Maudlin (Giant Teeth, Odyssey), she has an immaculate ability to stamp her brand of innovative thinking most permanently on a piece, and there is no doubting her presence nor her skill as this story unfolds. 

She has excelled again, bringing together puppets, the seamless live Foley with a Dali-esque twang, so as to really create an alternate reality fusion that as an audience member I stepped into with both boots! I could go full spoiler here but I won’t. Well, well done Katy Maudlin. 

I just can’t help the empty feeling I have as I leave the auditorium, like it all ended a bit suddenly: no great catharsis just an unanswered question: why?

Upon waking this morning and writing this, I find myself asking more questions of myself and my relationship to this piece of theatre. 

I was bullied, I think I spent a damn good lot of time in my head trying to make sense of things, figure a way ‘out’. But to what end?? I need an ending, the lump in my throat is there… but the tears don’t come and I WANT TEARS! 

So when I read that (playwright) Dan Bain says, “Read Classics, kill your monsters,” I start wondering what greater solace I could have derived from paying more attention in 6th Form Classics.   

Dan Bain starts strong but I feel the piece fizzles away, which is a shame. It is nice work, with good bones which maybe would have benefitted from some extra-keen dramaturgy.


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