Blackwood Miners Institute

Monday 23rd May

Like Icarus, Pants on Fire Theatre don’t worry about flying too close to the stars. However, this bold company differ greatly from this ill-fated flyer of Roman mythology in that they are certainly benefiting from their courage. With their production Metamorphoses receiving consistently positive reviews which frequently brush them with four and five star ratings, it seems that the wings of this London-based company are made of something stronger than glue.

It is clear from the name: Metamorphoses is obviously about transformation. The stories brought together in Ovid’s masterpiece not only laid the foundation of modern science by suggesting everything is made from the same elements, but also allowed us to explore the startling consequences of our vice, pride and vanity. Rooted firmly into a Second World War context but revamped for the twenty-first century, Pants on Fire’s Metamorphoses seasons its depictions with the anxieties of a new era.

From a creative perspective, there’s plenty from 1940s culture to keep us entertained. With close-harmony a cappella, the company reinvent the stories that form the basis of Roman mythology, bringing them into the context of WWII. Here, as The Sirens become air-raid sirens and The Chorus morphs into phonographic echoes of The Andrews Sisters, new layers are added to this rich documentary of transformation.

Similarly, in a cheeky dig at cinema, Narcissus is bravely reinvented as an actor mesmerised by his own reflection on the silver screen. So convincing is this pastiche of mid twentieth-century culture, the production urges us to actually look back at cinema with a self-consciously twee nostalgia which verges on the patronising.

This is accessible, modern and creative theatre from a company which strive to make work that ‘delights in its own palpable theatricality’. As Pants on Fire merge puppets with actors and make flames from cloth, the result is set to be a captivatingly breed of self-aware visual storytelling which flamboyently bears a low-tech extravagence. Comic, colourful and gently educational, Pants on Fire’s Metamorphoses provides the change we should all be fighting for. Prepare to be transformed.

Tickets: £12.00 / £10.00. Info: 01495 227206 / http://www.caerphilly.gov.uk/bmi

first published in Buzz Magazine

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