Review: THE GOLDEN ASS at Circa Theatre

What did our critic think of THE GOLDEN ASS at Circa Theatre?

By: Apr. 19, 2024
Review: THE GOLDEN ASS at Circa Theatre
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Michael Hurst gives us a master class in storytelling.

The Golden Ass is the only ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in it's entirety. In this production, it is given some modern flavour whilst still maintaining the settings and heart of the story.

Ambitious young author Lucius travels to a strange town to research his book on Witchcraft. Full of his own importance, he undergoes a magical transformation that teaches him the perils of getting what you ask for.

Turned to an ass, he now experiences the world anew in a string of hilarious and harrowing adventures, learning more as a donkey than he ever did as a man.

The set is sparse, with a large round floor covering reminiscent of a deserted island, a chilly bin, a shopping bag and some towels.

The lighting is deceptively simple in its appearance, but was precise when required. There was only one minute of darkness when the transformation occurred but even that was not entire blackout so we could just see the characters shape.

Hurst engaged with the audience quickly and never let them go. His conversational delivery meant it appeared unrehearsed, as if the words being spoken were his own. Each character he portrayed had its own accent and its own physicality making them readily identifiable. His three way conversation between himself and two people he met along his travels was so convincing you'd almost swear there were three actors. The words painted images in our minds so easily and clearly. 

There were some hilarious moments and some great plays on words. Also throughout the night, there were serious and thoughtful scenes. Running at 80 minutes, it kept our interest throughout, right up to the final curtain. 

This was a breathtaking display of an actor at the top of his game. Highest of recommendations. 


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