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Jason and the Argonauts

Sarah White and Ben Gilbert in Four of Swords' Jason and the Argonauts. Photo: Matt Austin Sarah White and Ben Gilbert in Four of Swords' Jason and the Argonauts. Photo: Matt Austin
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Played out in promenade style and on dual levels, this exuberant production from the excellent Four of Swords makes full and imaginative use of a fine, newly reopened location at Rolle College. Audiences are welcomed to a well-lighted circular space framed by gauzy curtains to reflect Colchis’ midsummer celebrations. Rhythmic Taiko drumming lends excitement and drama to the action. As a sudden mist blocks the sun, a surprise attack is feared. With Argos sighted distantly at anchor, Jason and four of his 50 Argonauts burst on to the scene.

Ben Gilbert’s Jason is a hapless charmer whose strength and courage carry him through countless perils and challenges as he seeks the fabled Golden Fleece. Sarah White’s high-spirited and volatile High Priestess Medea is a credible foil who gives Jason unexpected help in his quest. With multimedia projection and wonderful puppets including a fearsome Harpie, a raging bull and a superb dragon, this is an engaging and entertaining retelling of the classical tale.

Teams of travellers are led onwards to new spaces. In a vast darkened room lit by a single spot, Jason confronts and slays the mighty bull. Finally arriving at the Forest of the Ancients, Jason’s prize is almost within reach. But the Fleece is encircled by its guardian, a huge, fearsome yet rather endearing dragon that never sleeps.

Director Philip Kingslan John has skilfully adapted the story, giving it style, lacing it with humour and ensuring his ensemble plays out this swash-buckling adventure with energy.

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Verdict
Rip-roaring, seafaring tale in which Jason wrestles monsters and faces untold dangers in his quest for the Golden Fleece
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