The Greek god Prometheus stealing fire from gods to offer to man opened the show at Yverdon-les-Bains, where the Expo theme is "The Universe and I."
Colourful dancers and jugglers poured on to Yverdon's floating, smoke-filled stage, and held up a giant cardboard construction representing man's five senses, complete with oversize mouth, nose, hand, eyes and ears.
Greek mythology then took centre stage once again, with actors enacting the story of the goddess Io, whose transformation into a white heifer by her husband, Zeus, was represented by a giant white cow floating on the river.
The river was also used to dramatic effect with the arrival of a singing Ulysses, played by singer Pascal Auberson. In the background, a chorus sang in "Babelonian", a 'language' created for the show, designed to conjure up the mystery and magic of ancient mythology.
Difficult and overlong
The uneasy mix between Greek and Expo themes left the audience leafing continuously through their program notes to make sense of the show. A helicopter during the opening minutes was clumsily used to represent the deities, while unfamiliar Greek myths alienated many spectators.
The three-act show was also criticised for being overlong, with initial bursts of spontaneous applause making way for polite, half-hearted clapping in the latter part of the programme.
By Alexandra Richard, translated by Vanessa Mock