This show finished on Saturday 02 December 2023, and this page is being kept for archival purposes only.
In the beginning was the game, the game was with God, and the game *was* God.
It’s 1BC, the gods are on high, watching the Nativity, and the villagers are elated at the prospects of the future. Unfortunately, someone isn’t happy, and maybe, sort of well, entirely annihilates the Nativity. The blame lands on Hercules, the most extraordinary hero of the Grecian era, who is tasked with 12-(ish) labours. Can he complete his missions, and restore peace to the world?
Come along to Bedlam this Christmas time for some crazy crustaceans, myth mixups and far, far too much falafel.
Actor (Brian Cox/Howard) Asta Knight
Actor (Ensemble) Aytac Cura
Actor (Ensemble) Alexander Németh
Actor (Ensemble) Lucie-Charlotte Benninghaus
Actor (Ensemble) Martyna Lipok
Actor (God) Eleanor Kinninmonth
Actor (Hera) Seamus Coyle
Actor (Hercules) Charlie Ringrose
Actor (Hermes) Alice Sikora
Actor (Herod/Ensemble) Tatiana Kacmarska
Actor (Jarred/Minotaur) Lucien Ngai
Actor (Ryan Crocs/Ensemble) Jack Greengross
Actor (Tamatwoa) Tara Healy
Actor (Theseus/Ensemble) Luke Hardwick
Actor (Zeus) Jacob Jolliffe
Assistant Producer Ching Zhan
Co-Writer (Physics Consultant) / Co-Choreographer / Set Assistant Fiona Connor
Costume Assistant Anwen Baker
Costume Assistant Lisa Kislova
Costume Manager Chloe Lannert
Director / Co-Writer / Co-Choreographer Miki Ivan
Lighting Assistant Zara Bathurst
Lighting Assistant Veronica Yung
Lighting Designer Carys Hrebenar
Lyricist (Scientific Supervisor) / Co-Choreographer Lewis Eggeling
Musical Director Freya White
Producer India Hunter
Set Assistant Tihani Binti Shahrudin
Set Assistant (Jeremy Stand-in) Luca Stier
Set Manager Holly Spragg
Sound Assistant Maysan Abdidayim
Sound Assistant Cat Chapman
Sound Designer Atalanta Lewis
Stage Manager Lauralyn Gibson
Tech Manager Leon Lee
Tech Manager Yining Xie
Welfare Em Leites McPherson
Wednesday 29 November - By Jon White for All Edinburgh Theatre
In Monty Panto and the 12(ish) Labours at the Bedlam, mixed messages purposefully run riot. While it is neither quite a panto nor yet a full tribute to Monty Python, it provides solid entertainment from beginning to end.
In a novel take on the labours of Hercules, the script, by director Miki Ivan and choreographer Fiona Connor, weaves together a reimagining of the nativity as an infanticide and a revisiting of Disney’s Moana’s Tomatwoa (think “shiny”, now “itchy”). The pair sprinkle humour throughout, with witty remarks linking the seemingly disparate topics of religion, Greek mythology, Physics and falafel.
As in the age-old tales, God (Eleanor Kinnimonth) and Hera (Seamus Coyle) have a falling out over a simple game of chess. In her defeat, Hera elects to punish God by tricking Jacob Jolliffe’s gullible Zeus into destroying God’s son Jesus at the scene of his birth, the well-known nativity.
Surprisingly, Hercules (Charlie Ringrose) is blamed for the whole Nativity debacle and must repent by performing various labours and tasks; some well-known and others less so. Eventually, all is resolved by a doughnut falling from Heaven.
There is a strong theme of comic miscommunication throughout, including an overworked, yet energetic Hermes (Alice Sikora) playing their classic role. When Hera tells Zeus to instruct Hercules to kill “Angel Gabriel” this is misheard by Zeus as “bring me coconut crab sandwich”. When sent to complete King Herod (Tatiana Kacmarska)’s labours, Hercules proclaims to see Jarred (Lucien Ngai) or Howard (Asta Knight), not Herod or whatever they’re called.
Popular music is peppered throughout the production. Lyricist, Lewis Eggeling and Musical Director Frey White reimagine Hairspray’s Welcome to the 60s as Welcome to 1BC for the birth of Christ. The bulk of Hercules’ labours are performed to a version of I Need a Hero.
The standout performance both for musicality and acting in their many roles comes from Asta Knight. In the ensemble, your eye is often drawn to their reactions and commitment to character. However, Knight’s outstanding performance, as Brian Cox for the Gilbert and Sullivan parody I am the paragon of a perplexing Physicist, steals the show.
Against the backdrop of an impressive raised pergola and a mural of Olympus, there is excellent gender blindness in the casting of characters such that it almost needs no mention and feels completely natural.
While entertaining, the overall plot is confused and lacks real purpose and direction with the ending hastily pulled together. Despite the name, there are few consistent, clear references to Monty Python and, unfortunately, little panto until the final few scenes. Nevertheless, the large cast and crew’s delivery, humour and dedication create an enjoyable and convivial show.
Running time: Two hours and 15 minutes (including one interval)