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ICARUS (article first published : 2003-07-21)

Directed by Peter Court who also devised the play and created all the costumes and props, Icarus is a delightful meander through some of the better-known Greek legends, as befitting Wilson’s Wharf’s My Big Fat Greek Festival of which it was a part.

If you missed this production – as I nearly did, only being able to see its last performance – you missed a theatrical delight for all ages.

I think it would have been better marketed as a production for the “young at heart” rather than for “young people”, as it is not a “children’s show” as such and it didn’t attract the audiences it deserved. Certainly, youngsters will enjoy it but only those who are fairly mature in their thinking and have a desire to explore theatrical concepts rather than those who expect to be entertained in a more robust manner.

Actors Peter Court, Clare Mortimer and Bryan Hiles create a fascinating and compelling piece which involves the use of some exquisitely-made puppets. Although it is slow-moving, Icarus is also riveting and educational without being pedantic.

The stage setting is cleverly-conceived, using a vast length of fabric which is skilfully manipulated to create images of the sea, either lapping on the shore or thundering over rocks. The sea plays an important role in Greek mythology as Ancient Greece was made up of a number of islands. Keeping to this theme, Peter Court has used the ancient fisherman’s skill of knotting, now known as macrame, in his costumes and his props.

The imagery is magical, particularly when Icarus ignores his inventor father’s instructions and flies too cose to the sun. The fight between the Minotaur and Theseus is dramatic and there are beautiful romantic scenes between Theseus and Ariadne.

I understand that Icarus is to be presented for schools later in the year. Those who have any influence over the education of young minds should be sure that schoolchildren see the show.

More information from Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889 – Caroline Smart




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