[201604] Ollie and the Minotaur

[201604] Ollie and the Minotaur

Duende Collective @ Tuxedo Cat – Perske Pavilion

9:30pm, Fri 12 Feb 2016

I was super excited to see that Duende were going to be putting on a production of Ollie and the Minotaur this Fringe; I’m a massive fan of Duende’s work (and Alan Grace’s direction, in particular), and I had fond memories of the last time I’d seen that play… way back in 2008.

Or I thought I did, anyway. When I went back to check my blog in preparation for this performance, I was surprised by the grumpy tail-end of the post… but, as the corrupted memories started sorting themselves out in my head, the re-reading did its job: I felt more prepared for this year’s rendition.

It is, of course, the same play with the same characters: three girls engaging in a traditional sozzled Girl’s Weekend inadvertently pick away at each other until a brutal deeper truth is revealed. Laura Brenko’s Bec is perfect as the more malleable of the three girls, and Shannon Mackowski absolutely owns the stage when her Carla is on a roll… but manages to balance her in the closing sections of the play, when Carla loses prominence onstage. And whilst I initially thought that Dee Easton was too soft for the pivotal Thea, the guts that she brought to her performance after The Turning Point left me convinced that no-one could have done better… and her fragility in the closing moments made for a nervous denouement.

The technical side was impressive, too: Alan Grace’s direction didn’t disappoint, and Nick Russell’s sound design was excellent, bookending the play with gorgeous soundscapes, and perforating the piece with perfect ambient noises.

And whilst my previous opinions about the play itself – that the final act is a sudden lurch that just doesn’t feel right – has not really changed, Duende’s production managed to paper over those cracks somewhat. Great performances, and excellent technical support, made this a much more satisfying experience than floogle’s 2008 effort.

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