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REVIEW: Bedazzle presents Mythic Trials at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek myths.

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The scene is Mount Olympus, the god Zeus is on trial, not for his deeds but for failing to intervene to prevent the wrong doings of other gods. We hear how Prometheus gave the mortals fire. His punishment is to be given a wife, Pandora. She opens her box to release pain, disappointment, jealousy, and war – among other dreadful things upon the world.

Performed at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek Myths.

This is the latest show from Bedazzle an award-winning theatre company, where some 60 per cent of the performers have learning disabilities or additional needs.

Performed at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek Myths.

Performed at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek Myths.

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Performed with alacrity, emotion, and heart, this is a beguiling tale of the frailty of the Greek gods. If Zeus is found guilty, his punishment will be to live among mortals. So that is one explanation of how we earthlings became so fallible and frail.

Bedazzle is a drama school, started in 2006 by married couple Diane and Phil Janssen, she a trained actress, he a graphic designer.

It is based at Fairycroft House in Saffron Walden and has 16 people in the acting troupe.

It also has its own theatrical agency and has supplied cast for television, film and photography and voice-overs. Bedazzle’s patrons include Dame Judi Dence and Miriam Margolyes.

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Last month, a film called Typical, won Bedazzle and Sarah Leigh the Royal Television Society (East) Award for Best Craft Director. The film was also nominated in the Best Scripted category.

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They were beaten in that section by the TV drama The Sixth Commandment starring Anne Reid and Timothy Spall. Typical is the film version of Bedazzle’s Edinburgh Fringe show, I’m Typical non-Typical which received awards and nominations in 2019.

Performed at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek Myths.

Performed at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Mythical Trials is an original interpretation of several Greek Myths.

Speaking before the show, founder Diane Jenssen said she and Phil started the company, which now has community groups across Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Peterborough, because she wanted: “A world which is equitable for everyone.”

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Diane said disabled people were vastly under-represented in the performing arts at “all levels, abilities and areas”.

She added that the group worked on low funds. “Sometimes our budget is £5 on Amazon and whatever we’ve got in the garage.”

Despite this, Bedazzle put on a glittering show at Cambridge Arts. The outstanding performance was from Sebastian O’Keefe who played Hermes, sang, and played guitar.

Acting careers don’t always go the way people expect once they leave drama school, Diane said: “But there are opportunities if you open your mind to them. Even when something terrible happens, if you look for it, there’s a gift in there somewhere.”

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Bedazzle’s next show will be Imagine a community show be at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge on November 16

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