Van Badham’s latest The Bull, The Moon And The Coronet Of Stars starts with the actors strolling onto the set, engaging in a moment of light banter and launching into 75 minutes of intimate, comical and lyrical storytelling. The characters tell us their story in a fun, conversational tone that manages to drop in and out of poetry and chat almost flawlessly.
The play is a modern day appropriation of Theseus and the Minotaur, focusing on the character of Ariadne. In Badham’s script, Ariadne is Marion (Silvia Colloca), an artist in residence at a museum and Theseus is the handsome heartthrobe Michael (Matt Zeremes) – the minotaur who represents the forbidden office romance. On the surface, The Bull has all the charm, wit and snappy dialogue of a romantic comedy, yet the interwoven mythology provides the symbolism and depth necessary to explore the heartbreak and loneliness at the centre of this labyrinth script.
Van Badham’s work is a mix of intelligent writing, inspired direction and beautiful performance. Colloca is an absolute joy to watch – not an easy ask for a protagonist who undergoes all the misplaced sincerity of lust and the painful earnestness of a broken heart. And Zeremes switches from Michael to sleazy lady’s man Mark with consummate ease.
Lee Lewis’s direction is marvelous; highlights including possibly the best sex/ minotaur slaying scene in theatre. There is also a moment where the Coronet of Stars from the title light up around the actors heads –a trick of such beauty I actually gasped in a light, manful way. This is all the more impressive when you realise this feat is accomplished using the disco balls that had featured in the previous scene, a septuagenarian bacchanal dance party.
The Bull, The Moon And The Coronet Of Stars is funny, thoughtful and intricate. It comes highly recommended.
**** out of five stars
BY PATRICK LENTON