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Jason and the Argonauts at The Courtyard - don't miss the boat!
2:04pm Saturday 28th September 2013 in News
Jason may be a name from ancient mythology, his quest for the Golden Fleece the stuff of legend, but, as The Courtyard’s production of Jason and the Argonauts, running at the venue until Tuesday, demonstrates, a tale as old as time can have powerful contemporary relevance.
Written by Mark Williams, who was responsible for bringing Horrible Histories – The Frightful First World War and Horrible Science to the stage for The Birmingham Stage Company, the script is full of humour, wit and not a little slapstick, at the same time distilling the essence of the mythical quest into an hour and a half of pure entertainment. This is a script that hits its mark – it doesn’t feel childish to an adult, and judging by the small boy on the edge of his seat, never loses the attention of a young audience.
Jason (Gareth Warren) accepts the challenge to find the Golden Fleece and bring it back to Iolcus, and so restore himself to his rightful place on the throne. Accompanying him on his epic journey are Hercules (Matt Neal), who’s at a loose end having completed his Twelve Labours, the legendary musician Orpheus (Ben Harrison), his lyre now a bass guitar, and Medea (Madeleine McMahon), problem solver, mediator and daughter of Aetes, king of Colchis, the owner of the Golden Fleece.
The fearsome (mostly) Argonauts must navigate the clashing rocks, battle the vicious harpies, beat Amycus, the boxing king, resist the call of the Sirens and defeat the Earthborn Dead before they even reach Colchis and the glittering Golden Fleece.
Clever set design and multiple roles taken by the four talented actors combine with a script and deft direction from David Durant, to ensure that the pace never slackens, while the well-judged rhythm and nicely balanced ingredients – adventure and excitement contrast with pathos and humour - are certain to have every audience willing Jason on to success.
But behind its sheer energy and entertainment value, there’s plenty of food for thought – Jason is only human in a world of gods and monsters, so where does he fit in? The value of friendship and teamwork is subtly explored and, when Jason has the prize in his grasp, he discovers, not unlike those who pursue fame and fortune today, that the gold not only dazzles, but blinds its owner to what’s truly valuable.
Jason and the Argonauts is at The Courtyard tonight, and Monday and Tuesday. To book call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit courtyard.org.uk
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