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Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Pants On Fire Theatre

Genre: Mainstream Theatre

Venue: Pleasance Dome.


Low Down

A young and multi-talented cast take on the challenge of a classic Latin text with such vigour and creativity that commands the audience attention. Using puppetry, music and sharp physicality this is a truly unique show that is simply a joy to watch. Mixing mythology with period, post war aesthetics, it is unusual in it’s conception but well worth seeing.


The piece begins from start of time, which – according to Ovid and other classical myth – begins with chaos, all of which combines to create the civilized world, that is after the many ages of man. From here we rattle at rip-roaring pace through several tales of varying popularity: from tiny Io to terrifying Medusa. We end with the profit Tiresias and a very serious message: that if humankind continues to abuse the earth we will return to the initial state of Chaos.

What is so charming about the piece is its ingenuity. These guys can do some serious things with flats! From a river to Mount Etna to a surgeon’s table (yes, really) their creativity is phenomenal.  I chose not to elaborate on this too far, because it truly is captivating to see what they can do next.

 Every member of the cast are fantastic and deal with the enormous number of characters that they have to portray in a skilled manner. The attention to detail, in bringing these characters alive is wonderful, a simple change of face can be so effective! They work together very well and it’s clear that the group have worked hard on making the performance slick and well executed.

The only criticism I have is with the ending. It’s a fantastic performance of mythical tales, but the end tries to give a message: essentially we are all heading for doom. It just feels a bit like an additional thought and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the piece, which is a huge shame because rather than leaving on the high that they created throughout, I left feeling confused and a little – but only a tiny bit – disappointed.