Review: Bullish, at Camden People’s Theatre
22 September, 2017 — By Elmira Tanatarova
AS part of Camden People’s Theatre’s Come As You Are festival of gender, Bullish charges bravely, funnily, and incredibly heartwarmingly at complex themes, using Greek mythology, monologues, and funky musical numbers.
While there is no one story going on at the same time, the dialogue and metaphors of the performance centre on the myth of the Minotaur, who is part man, part bull.
Using an ancient tale to talk about ideas that are only recently involved in the mainstream is handled with a poetic grace that credits the writer Lucy J Skilbeck’s ability to seek out relevant commentary.
For instance, the charged, unapologetically confident and yet isolated Minotaur highlights the stigmas and marginalisation the LGBTQ+ community can face in a world seemingly determined to trap it that is akin to Daedalus’s labyrinth.
Theseus’s slaying of the Minotaur, Icarus flying too close to the sun, and Ariadne’s arcs are all told while characters interchange between roles, as played by the talented Krishna Istha, Cairo Nevitt, Lucy Jane Parkinson, Adam Robertson, and Amelia Stubberfield.
Weaving in and out of a direct narrative in which the actors discuss their experiences of not conforming to gender roles (both positive and negative) and the legends, the cast creates different spaces.
They do this by mobilising the seemingly small stage with fight choreography and occasionally breaking the fourth wall in between elaborate tales of Athenian heroes to challenge their most blatant critics in the room: “Do I scare you?”
A moving and honest retelling, the story is told without trivialising the topic and has potential to bring an audience to tears: both happy and sad.
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