Merlin Theatre, Frome and Touring

Mark Bruce and his team have once again created a visually stunning piece of dance. Close on the heels of the outstanding Dracula, the company continue to prove they are at the cutting edge of contemporary dance. Their unique mix of musical genre, dance styles and production values provide a wealth of material that provokes challenges and entertains.

This year, the company are presenting an adaptation of The Odyssey. As expected we meet King Odysseus, separated from his family for ten years of brutal war, who now faces another ten years of struggle to return home. As the Gods drag him on an epic journey across oceans to strange lands and the darkness beyond he encounters immortal beauties, shape shifters and monsters who both guide and torment the king as he hurtles towards a savage and desperate reunion with his Queen.

There are moments in the story that are instantly recognisable and some less so, the performance at The Merlin was delayed due to an injury in the company and they had rehearsed a new dancer to allow the show to go ahead. This might be why the narrative at times felt a little sparse and the action rather episodic rather than the raw flow expected of this company.

Regardless, this a team clearly at the top of their game and a minor blip early in the tour will not hinder this outstanding company or their continued success.

The distinctive images created by the creative and technical team of:  Phil Eddolls (Set Design) Guy Hoare (Lighting Design) and Dorothee Broduck (Costume Design) ensure that the hallmark beauty of a Mark Bruce production is intact. The extraordinary boat, storm scene and raft are pictures that will stay in the memory for a long time.




Petra Schofield