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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Review: Women of Troy at People's Theatre

Euripides Classic adapted by Don Taylor

Unaccustomed as I am to Greek tragedy, this does not compare to the unfamiliarity of the situation in which the characters in this story found themselves. Noble women suddenly find themselves with no men, no subjects, no servants and a falling country. Queen Hecuba, widow of Priam, King of Troy left us in no doubt as to the level of her loss and despair. Played tirelessly by Rye Mattick, Hecuba has lost her sons and sees her young grandson taken away by the Greek soldiers to be killed as he is seen as a threat despite his youth. The women are variously to be taken back to Greece to be enslaved, married off, made concubines or just killed. Not only do they suffer the loss of their children and husbands but they will suffer the rest of their lives as paupers. This is too much for someone like Hecuba to bear, her sorrow for her family more than equalled by her sense of loss for her royal lifestyle. Hecuba's daughter, Cassandra is a prophetess and clearly out her mind, but sees her imminent marriage to a powerful Greek as an opportunity for revenge. Cassandra's hysteria was played expertly by Kelly Godfrey. 

Helen the instigator of all this strife between Greece and Troy, was played in a manner I recognise slightly from Horrible Histories by Emma Jane Richards. But this is exactly as we imagine this awful woman. She is portrayed as a manipulative, power hungry hussy who is hated by the women of Troy for her betrayal of her Greek husband and bringing the terrible retribution upon Troy. The Greek men were all dressed in modern military uniform, as was the god Poseidon in his naval uniform, separating the men from the women using the era of their clothing. The show started in modern Syria with Syrian women being ushered into captivity by allied troupes before the situation was taken back to Euripides version of the story of the fall of Troy.
The cast were utterly absorbed in this performance and played their parts with complete conviction and the subtle use of music enhanced the atmosphere at just the right time. This was an amateur production but the passion the players put into it raised it to a higher level. I've decided, however Greek tragedies are not for me. 

Words: Joanne Oliver

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