BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

18/07/2014 - 02/08/2014

Young & Hungry Festival of New Theatre 2014 20th Anniversary

Production Details

Greta is a weird kid. The other girls don’t like her, her Dad left, and her Mum won’t get off the computer. When she starts seeing things that aren’t there she has to make a choice – is she going to let all this ride or get brave and wreak some Greek classical carnage?

From the author of GAMEPLAN comes a new drama about eye surgery, being brave and dealing with your monsters.

To the question – describe the play in five words?
– Greta discovers her inner heroine. (Sara Brodie)
– Read Classics, kill your monsters. (Dan Bain)

6.30pm – Our Parents’ Children
8.00pm – Second Afterlife
9.30pm – Uncle Minotaur
Season: Friday 18 July – Saturday 2 August
BATS Theatre, Cnr Cuba @ Dixon Sts
(no show Sun/Mon)
Tickets: $18 / $14 / Groups 6+ $13 / School Groups 6+ $10 
Season Passes: $45 / $36 / $25

Greta:  Isabella Woods
Hamish:  Riwai Rawiri-Brown, Liam Kelly (23, 24, 25 July)
The Minotaur:  James Forster
Hobo:  David Rooney
Mother:  Ruby Kemp
Ophthalmologist:  Christopher Watts 
Nurse:  Annie Broughton 
Serena:  Jemma Hayman 
Mean Girls:  Georgia Samson, Keelie Elder, Eleanor Green
Puppeteers:  Adele Tunicliff, Miranda Hitchings, Annie Broughton 

Assistant Director:  Nino Raphael 
Assistant Director:  Caitlin Jolley 
Stage Manager:  Greta Evans 
Stage Manager:  Rebecca Anderson 
Set & Puppet Design:  Greer Palmer 
Costume Design:  Eleanor Green 
Special FX & Minotaur design:  Imojen Hancock 
Lighting Design:  Evangelina Telfar 
Sound Design:  Liam Kelly 


Highly imaginative and thought-provoking

Review by John Smythe 19th Jul 2014

As you may expect from the title, there is more epic struggle afoot (as with Second Afterlife) in Dan Bain’s Uncle Minotaur, directed by Sara Brodie. As with Our Parents’ Children, the ‘lost child’ / young adult is female – Greta (Isabella Woods) – but this time it is her father who has left home and her Mother (Ruby Kemp) who is lost in cyberspace.  

The opening scene is a highly stylised account of Greta’s eye operation at the hands of a caricature Ophthalmologist (Christopher Watts) and his efficient Nurse (Annie Broughton) who is nevertheless given to reading women’s magazines while on the job (a gratuitous ‘gag’, it seems to me).

Three pairs of UV-lit white-gloved hands (those of three puppeteers – Adele Tunicliff, Miranda Hitchings, Annie Broughton – who will do sterling duty throughout the show) offer props and give silent directions.

Later they operate the psychedelic monkeys on the backs of Serena (Jemma Hayman) and her Mean Girls (Georgia Samson, Keelie Elder, Eleanor Green), who bully Greta and her rather hopeless friend Hamish (Riwai Rawiri-Brown) in the high school playground.

Also encountered is a Hobo (David Rooney) who addresses us directly she Greta leaves and lets us know he knows her. He sings an old song she knows from childhood and his biggest concern is how she has fared at the hands of someone I take to be her de facto step dad – we are left to join the dots – although the Mother, on the odd occasion she raises her head from the depths of her laptop screen, never mentions such a person.

Greta clearly has a journey to take, to confront her demons and claim her life back for herself. Her journey through the labyrinth is splendidly evoked by the Puppeteers – and it is in its depths that she encounters The Minotaur (James Forster), who keeps saying “call me Uncle”.

Here’s where I get confused, or maybe it’s just that I make assumptions which turn out to be wrong and I have to rethink it – which may well mirror what Greta is having to do.

[Spoiler Alert?] It is clear, and insightful, that The Minotaur is a gentle pussycat beneath all his bluster, bravado and blood-curdling threats. And it is he who ‘saves’ Greta by magically, and instantly, transforming Serena and the Mean Girls into Friendly Girls – whereas in the original Greek myth he was killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. In retrospect, then, I take it Dan Bain is applying modern psychology to the metaphorical phenomenon of the mythical monster. This I applaud although I would have liked the ‘get it’ moment to be available as the production plays out. [ends]

On opening night there is rather too much shouting, which undermines the potential intensity of the drama. I trust this will be modulated in further performances.

Greer Palmer’s set and puppet designs, Imojen Hancock’s Special FX and Minotaur designs, Evangelina Telfar’s lighting and Liam Kelly’s sound designs all contribute greatly to a highly imaginative and thought-provoking production.

See also reviews for Our Parents’ Children and Second Afterlife.


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