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Atlantis, A Boy of No Consequence (review)

Mark Addy, Jack Donnelly and Robert Emms

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

ATLANTIS is billed as a fantasy-adventure inspired by Greek mythology and that’s exactly what it is. Or if you prefer, “Merlin in sandals” as it has already been dubbed.

However, Atlantis might well earn the condemnation of true aficionados of Greek mythology – and rightly so – for the way in which various myths are rolled into one, the daring deeds attributed to just one hero – the unassuming but impassioned Jason (he, I presume, of the Argo) played by the very personable Jack Donnelly.

Having said that, Atlantis is great fun and I can only assume that its creators had not intended it to be taken seriously. Why else would Hercules (the delightful Mark Addy) be depicted as portly rather than muscular? In other words, a man who enjoys his food.

Last night’s episode, A Boy of No Consequence, saw Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras (yes, that one) taken prisoners for offending a young nobleman; their fate to face the bulls.

Having visited the Palace of Knossos on the Greek Island of Crete and learned of the bull leaping exploits of young Minoans, I found the episode fascinating.

The frescos of Knossos depict it as a sport, graceful in its execution yet devoid of participants’ gut-wrenching fear and the bull’s unpredictable temper. Here, both were very much in evidence, showing bull leaping for what it really was; a truly terrifying sport. Here too, was a nod to the gladiators of ancient Rome who bowed before their Emperor with the words, “We who are about to die, salute you”.

So far Jason and his pals, Hercules and Pythagoras (Robert Emms), have slain the Minataur (wasn’t that Theseus?) and befriended Medusa – before, that is, she incurs the wrath of the Goddess Athena or whatever it is that Atlantis has in store for her – so I can’t wait to see what future episodes have to offer.

However, with its ties to Crete and the Minoan civilization (as well as King Minos, note the columns of the palace painted the same hue as those at Knossos), I expect a finale of epic proportions – nothing, in fact, short of a mega volcanic eruption and giant tsunami.

For now though, with its intrigues – Sarah Parish is a marvellously devious Pasiphae – latent love story, special effects and unashamed romp through Greek mythology, Atlantis more than fills the gap left by Merlin. Just don’t take it too seriously.