Backhand Theatre Company was founded in 2010, creating Greek Myths For Kids in their first season of new writing for the Edinburgh Fringe. Beginning with a lively introduction that explained what Greek myths are all about - stories from more than two thousand years ago concerning mortal heroes and the gods that the Greeks believed lived on Mount Olympus - we were then treated to a dash through four of the most well known, by three talented performers.
Theseus and the Minotaur came first and told of how brave Theseus, with the help of Ariadne, defeated the deadly minotaur and escaped the labyrinth of King Minos by following the ball of golden thread.
The story of Persephone and Demeter next explained how the seasons came to be; Icarus’s tale provided a warning to children to listen to their dad and do as they’re told and finally the scary saga of Perseus and Medusa ended with the spectacle of the winged Pegasus rising out of Medusa’s blood, still to be glimpsed in the sky on a clear night.
The fact that these stories have endured is an indication of the power they have to fire the imagination and the many popular iterations available for children are testament to their ability to resonate even with the very young.
This production combined puppetry and movement with some first-class storytelling that fully engaged everyone from about aged 4 years upwards. It was imaginative and full of energy and commitment, but best of all it was, from start to finish, thoroughly interactive.
There were opportunities to shout out in warning, to participate in key plot moments and to cheer along with those heroes who won out in the end.
This was a cast who seemed very at ease with dealing with the random and often unpredictable interjections from the younger members of the audience – and some others performing at the Fringe this year could learn something valuable from watching their techniques of junior crowd management.
Running until 27th Aug (not 13th), 2.15pm
10th, 15th-17th, 22nd-24th £8.50 (£6.50) (£4.50 C)
11th -12th, 18th-19th, 25th-27th £9.50 (£7.50) (£5.50 C)
14th, 20th-21st £7.50 (£5.50) (£3.50 C)