Friday, 21 October 2016

Theatre 2016: Review Thirty

Cambridge Greek Plays 2016, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge. October 2016.

I can't believe that three years have already gone past since the we had a really mixed experience at the 2013 Greek Play - this time without Rebecca who decided that once was enough!

This time the serious drama was Antigone and not at all a chore to watch.  The cast were uniformly superb as they performed Sophocles's play. This is the third in a trilogy but the story telling was so clear that from the start you knew exactly what was going on, and I found it an emotional watch. Even though this play is nearly 2500 years old the point couldn't be clearer and in today's political uncertain times a play reminding us that dictators who don't listen are dangerous. Is upsetting the accepted status quo the same thing as upsetting the Gods? The setting was also very clever (although one of my companions wasn't so sure), it reminded me of the wonderful Othello at the National Theatre - again something that predisposed me to like this play perhaps.

After the interval we came back in for Aristophanes's Lysistrata - the comedy.  From the outset the audience is under no misapprehension that this is being played for laughs - the surtitles even tell you so! In this play the women of Greece are fed up of the war and so go on a sex strike until peace is declared. Plenty of scope for humour, and this was really piled up during the performance and for me it just went that little bit too far. I had to spend so much time reading the surtitles that I lost a lot of the action on the stage and it was also so contemporary and politically up-to-date that I also lost the original play.  It was great fun, I laughed lots and it was wonderfully risque at times but I have no clear idea of how the original play panned out.

I'm really glad I went, and it was good to see a packed out house for such a niche production but again for me it was a game of two halves, and this time it was the serious play that was the hit.

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