The first feature to be written and directed by poet and playwright Tony Harrison draws from Aeschylus' play Prometheus Bound, boldly transplanting it into a modern context.
Beginning in a Yorkshire mining village on the day the last pit is closed, the audience is addressed by Hermes (Michael Feast), who has been sent down from the gods to punish mankind for stealing the gift of fire. Hermes abducts a group of miners, whose bodies are forged into a golden statue (Prometheus), which is then transported across Europe. Back in the coalfields, a miner (Walter Sparrow) watches Prometheus' journey on a screen and verbally spars with the poisonous Hermes.
A ponderous look at 20th-century history and the human condition, the odyssey, scripted entirely in rhyming verse, makes for arduous viewing. Harrison's humanist ideas - anti-ideology, pro-imagination - may be genuine, but it's unclear to who this will appeal.