VisionQuest's Medea combines the epic quest of Jason and the Argonauts with the tragedy of matricidal Medea. Jason (Vaughn Williams) and his band of Greek adventures seek the famed Golden Fleece in exotic Colchis. Fiery princess Medea (Stacy Melich) helps the hero win his prize -- and her heart. But years later, she becomes a wrathful lover when Jason spurns her.
Director Montica Pes transplants Medea to the modern dancefloor and the martial arts dojo. (Some of the brawls prove impressively concussive, others disappointingly dainty.) Medea's highlights feel positively cinematic, like the kung fu fights scored to tunes by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Offspring, or when Angele Masters leads a splendidly kitschy line dance to "Funky Town."
The recurring themes of girl power, female strength, beauty and sexuality, try to keep the anachronistic flourishes from feeling arbitrary. Melich embodies ferocious, uncontrolled passion in a demanding role that includes bathing in a tub and whirling on a trapeze, while Alison Hastings plays the wisecracking female Argonaut with confidence and humor.
Next to them, Medea's ensemble seems half-asleep -- especially the men. Williams unquestionably has the moves and physique of a Greek hero, but he could benefit from a voice coach. Scripters Jim Davies and Xiao Gong Ji only sketchily define the other roles and encumber the action with countless, superfluous monologues that never fail to stop the action dead.
Most scripts show rough patches at their first public performances, and VisionQuest faced a logistical nightmare when fire code violations required the company to move Medea from the Art Farm to 7 Stages a week before opening. Medea isn't what it could have been, but it suffers from deeper conceptual problems. Unlike Pes' previous, funked-up takes on classics, here VisionQuest must construct and deconstruct a story at the same time. Medea: The Fury seldom finds a sure footing.
Medea: The Fury plays through April 4 at 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. Thurs.-Sun. 8 p.m. $16-$20. 678-318-1433. www.visionquesttheater.com.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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