300 to 1
A one man version of 300, with added WWI context, at the Edinburgh Free Fringe
This article is from 2014.
The idea of converting Zack Snyder’s homoerotic slash-‘em-up 300 into a one hour, one man stage show is an inherently silly one, if only because 300 stipulates the size of its cast right there in the title. Mancunian writer/performer Matt Panesh (aka Monkey Poet) not only delivers a remarkably faithful re-enactment of the movie, but also successfully incorporates a parallel message about ‘The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.’
A 15-year-old schoolboy, complaining about having to do WWI poetry for homework, is visited by the ghosts of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. When the topic of dying for the good of your country comes up, the boy’s eyes light up: ‘Just like in 300!’. Having both died years before Snyder’s film, or the Frank Miller graphic novel from which it was adapted, were created, the pair sit back as the boy re-enacts, interjecting to offer their own opinions and interpretations.
Panesh’s core message is far from subtle, but his passion for both the poetry and the politics behind it is sincere. His empathy for the combat veterans of today also strikes a chord – in the centenary year of WWI, their viewpoint remains as relevant as ever.
Banshee Labyrinth, 558 8209, until 24 Aug (not Tue), 12.50pm, free.