James Ryan Gobuty
The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars tells the story of Marion (Daniela Vlaskalic), an artist-in-residence at a museum where a number of strange incidents unfold. As the museum is being torn apart by some mysterious force, Marion finds herself growing more and more attracted to her co-worker Michael (Ron Pederson). The entire incident finds itself folding into the world of Greek mythology, with Marion being an Ariadne-like character, coming face to face with the poles of the Minotaur and Dionysus.
The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars has a lot of good stuff going for it, namely strong direction from Vikki Anderson and strong choreography from Monica Dottor. This play has a large physical theatre component to it, which is very well done. The two actors make excellent use of the space and their bodies to tell a tale that ducks and weaves between fantasy and reality.
Unfortunately, the play starts to lose steam in the second half. Whereas the first half has a strong balance between humour and drama, the second half is something of a slog, with the comedy struggling to peak through and often coming off heavy handed. Perhaps this shows some of the risks and limitations of physical theatre; the actors work so hard throughout the show physically, that they seem markedly exhausted by the end of the play. Though the physical component is excellent, the narrative element suffers, because as the show goes on, the actors increasingly and continuously flub lines, which causes the overall experience of the play to falter.
Frankly, I think the first half hour of this play is excellent and could stand alone as a very good short play.
Written by Van Badham and presented by The Theatre Department, The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars is playing at The Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Avenue, until August 17th, as part of the SummerWorks performance festival.