DAVID RUSSELL'S Minotaur is an entertaining diversion. Russell recasts the ancient myth as a broad political satire with dark, sexual undertones. His King Minos struggles to maintain his political capital, despite the scandal of a rumored beast-child carried to term by Queen Pasiphae after an ill-considered sexual adventure. The play is at its best when reveling in its own bitchy dialogue and dancing around the issue of how much of the scandal is literal and how much is created in the minds of those under the spotlight.

Ironically, it is at the play's conclusion, when a connection is made between mythological truths and the self-mythology that fuels politics, that the vacuousness of Minotaur becomes clear. Smarmy politicians, sexualized matrons, and slightly rebellious daughters were all ripe for satire four decades ago, and the characters in Minotaur are broadly written in a way that aids the comedy, but sabotages attempts to speak to issues more serious than basic head-shaking at the lives of the rich and famous. The heavy use of multimedia effects, primarily music and projected imagery, helps keep the show fixated on surface issues. When film of Hitler and Mussolini is used to underscore King Minos' potential for evil, Minotaur lurches dangerously close to ham-handedness.

All four main actors do fine solo work. James Gall, as a Robert Kleinesque King Minos, and James Garver, as the scientist Daedalus, are best served by the material -- Garver gives his nervous, hateful character an entertaining, appropriate physicality. Christina Mastin and Desiree Prewitt, as Pasiphae and daughter Ariadne, are also effective. Both actors move well, and excel in scenes that incorporate dance-like movement. Shawn Belyea's direction is clean, precise, and lively, and makes compelling use of the simple, curtained set. This set design embodies Minotaur's strengths and weaknesses -- clever and versatile, but ultimately hiding very little in reserve.

Minotaur's School for Scandal

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