Performers travel the South Hams to bring the legend of Brutus alive

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Tuesday 28th June 2022 10:00 am
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Have you ever wondered how the historic town of Totnes was so named?

If so, look no further than the Dartington Playgoers who are revealing all in their touring play ‘The Amazing Adventures of Brutus the Mighty Trojan – or how the town of Totnes got it’s name.’

A cast of six seasoned actors will be visiting towns and villages across the South Hams from Saturday (June 25) performing their show for free in front of audiences.

Director Richard Clark explained “Researching the Brutus myth, I was attracted to making a play of his journey from Italy to Totnes and the many challenges he meets on the way.

“The story of Brutus is full of wonderful opportunities to have fun and so with plenty of comedy it would appeal to a wide audience.

“For example Brutus accidentally kills his father while hunting a boar.

“This might seem gruesome but with the actors playing the boars it becomes ridiculously funny.”

Richard continued: “I wanted the show to use the actors in multi roles, so one minute they play the boars, the next they are Gods, or slaves, or even the sirens of Odysseus fame but playing them as if they were Diana Ross and the Supremes.

“We decided on no props and no costumes, but by creating strong characters you can believe you are travelling with Brutus and his sailors all the way to Totnes.”

After accidentally shooting his father the exiled Brutus travels to Greece, where he takes King Pandrasus hostage and demands he and the slaves are given ships to escape.

Setting sail they arrive on Lefkada, where the goddess Diana tells Brutus of an island where giants live and where he will found a race and become great.

The Island is Britain.

Crossing the Mediterranean, the evil Sirens try to entice Brutus to land but he wisely tricks them and sails on to the Cape of Finisterre where he meets Corineus - another mighty Trojan - and together they set off for France.

Once in France the pair hunt for food and end up killing a royal stag before being taken prisoner by King Goffaries who ties them up and leaves them to die.

However, the duo manage to escape, cross the channel and sail up the River Dart to land in Totnes.

While celebrating they are attacked by giants, but these big men have no hope against the spears of the Trojans.

Finally only one giant is left and Corineus challenges him to a fight and…..guess who wins?

Richard added: “The story, although told in a tongue in cheek way, gives the people of the area a real taste of their history.

“How many newcomers to Totnes know what the Brutus Stone in Fore street stands for - indeed how many of them have even noticed it!”

Performances are being held at St Mary’s Churchyard at 11.30am on Saturday June 25; Broadhempston Commubity Orchard (or in the village hall if raining) at 7.30pm on Thursday June 30; The Hunters Lodge, Cornworthy at 7.30pm on Friday July 1; Staverton Playing Field (or in the church if raining) at 7.30pm on Monday July 4 and at The Pack Horse, South Brent at 7.30pm on Tuesday July 5.

Audiences are advised to bring chairs or rugs to sit on for the outdoor performances.

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