Review: The Grail Project

Theatre Movement Bazaar
Bedlam Theatre – until August 26th
4 Stars (4 / 5)

Hailing from Los Angeles, Theatre Movement Bazaar are the capable and savvy curators of cutting edge, often a little off-the-wall, contemporary theatre spiced with precise physicality (clue is in the title guys) and live music. They blasted onto the stage at Bedlam theatre with a series of surreal works inspired by Chekhov’s plays. Last year they offered Big Shot, a work roused by Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, conveying not only plot points from the movie but around the history of its genesis. TMB use every means necessary to tell a tales that are as compelling in form as content. It’s their thing. They’re good at it. Those who are new to them are usually blown away.

This year the offer The Grail Project – a tale of Medieval knights coming of age, an illicit affair between King Arthur’s most loyal knight, Sir Lancelot of legend, and his wife, Queen Guinevere, the mystical magic of Merlin – as well as his brand new idea for a pyramid sales scheme. Yes, the fourth wall comes crumbling down when necessary in this genre and time-line bending contemporary medieval fantasy where Princess Morgana, le Fey, is re-imagined as a raging would-be suffragette, ready to rail against the patriarchy of feudal society.

TMB’s work always earns a place among the musn’t-miss spectacles of the fringe. Their rigour, attention to detail and prowess alone should draw a crowd. Their originality and creativity with form another. If there is one shortcoming of this piece it is simply that it seems to be divided in two. The first half is composed of a variety of suggested sub-plots which never really reach their full zenith or are satisfyingly resolved (including the best-laid plans of radfem Morgana to institute Social Justice). The second half follows the legend of young Percival’s Quest for The Grail, as well as his faithful lackey’s ascendancy from scribe to knight. Perhaps a little restructuring would allow each of the plot-lines to intersperse and crescendo in their final resolution.

Ultimately The Grail Project is a success. The Stuff of Legend.