Ariadne Review by Kathryn Barnes

Ariadne held performances at the Bellingham Maze at Tanawha on 10-12 May and this show has now finished.

Who doesn’t want to get lost in a greek mythological tale?

Ariadne, portrays the story of the daughter of Pasiphae and the Cretan king Minos. Ariadne falls in love with Theseus who slays the Minotaur who is half bull and half human. Ariadne helps Theseus escape the Labyrinth (where the beast was kept by her father) using a thread of glittering jewels. Choosing the Bellingham maze as the backdrop for this play was both a stroke of genius and a challenge for director, Robyn Ernst.

On arrival, the group was welcomed into the Labyrinth to begin their journey and in simple authentic costumes, the cast set the first scene. Guides with lantern lights led the group through the maze to a grassy section for each subsequent part of the play. The subtle effect of twinkle lighting in the hedgerows and within the ball of thread used by the actors was beguiling and set the mood perfectly. Being inside the maze in the misty dark evening with dramatic background music and lighting immersed the audience in the mysterious atmosphere.

The director not only had the challenge of trying to put a full play on inside a maze, but also decided to loop the play four times a night with another group starting when the last group were only halfway through. This logistical puzzle would have unravelled less experienced directors (pun intended), but this was achieved using different cast members for the roles throughout the play and using the same sets for different scenes. The effect was enhanced rather than diminished with voices, shouts and sound effects from earlier scenes adding to the foreboding atmosphere. As the audience looked up to the tower to watch the scene where the Minotaur is slain, the clouds parted in the mist to reveal the crescent of the moon in the sky above. The autumnal night sky seemed to be taking its place adding to the dramatic effect.

The acting was outstanding and the young cast was wholeheartedly committed to each scene and ready to exit to be ahead of the group at the next section. The hard work by cast and crew and attention to detail was evident. The vignettes were riveting, well-spoken and sensitively acted. After being in the midst of this spectacle, it is inconceivable to think of this play being performed on an ordinary stage.

This was the last evening of this play in the Anywhere Theatre Festival and it was interactive and fascinating. The cast of BYTES are to be commended with their professionalism and commitment to portray four performances in a continuous loop each night. BYTES performances are always of a high quality and this show surpassed all expectations. Look out for their next show and support some wonderful young actors. You will be entertained and impressed.

Review by Kathryn Barnes – 12 May 2019