Review: The Antiscians by The Apricity Project

George MacDonald's 1889 fairy tale is reworked into a modern folkloric tale, but its morals feel like an afterthought

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2018
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The Antiscians

The Apricity Project have a strong arsenal of performers and costume in their corner: the look of The Antiscians feels rustic, invoking folklore which maintains a distinctly old world feel but with Los Angeles polish. The show has an enchanting premise, too: inspired by George Macdonald's 1889 fairy tale, the story revolves around two girls raised separately (one by day, one by night) who finally meet to vanquish a long talked-of beast.

Director Doug Oliphant's stage combat experience comes into play to produce an admirably active staging, particularly driving Lucia's (Chelsie Blackwell) practice sessions with Falca (Jamye Meri Joseph). Blackwell is a strong performer, her Lucia a heroine it's easy to root for.

Oliphant juxtaposes both physical and magical combat: the mythology and commitment to mime invoke an overall feel similar to noughties CBBC gameshow Raven, pre-SFX edit. Perhaps that's the ideal aged audience for The Antiscians: tweens are bound to be enthralled with the prettiness of the show and the bond shared by the sisters. Blackwell and Marina Stratton have a chemistry which feels instinctive, right from their first meeting.

It's the kind of thing I would've eaten up when I was twelve, but now it's hard to be snagged on co-writers Ryan Napier and Courtney Oliphant's conclusion. The explanation of events feels tacked on, a disparate chapter which causes the enchantment to fall away. That they try to extract a moral from the confused threads is more baffling still.