HECUBA to 17 10

Stratford Upon Avon
HECUBA: Martina Carr
RSC: The Swan

Runs: 1h 55m, no interval, till Saturday 17 10 15
Tkts: 0844 800 1110

Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 27 09 15

Extraordinarily powerful.
In HECUBA, Martina Carr has set out to give us an account of the destruction, the annihilation, of Troy; we experience the story through the sufferings of Hecuba. Carr’s account is direct, disturbingly detailed, and unremittingly painful. We have small care for the rights and wrongs of the war; we see, or rather hear of, merciless bloodshed, murder, torture, these we care greatly about. Worse, we sense these acts are based often on superstition and on a desire for victory and victory spoils. Most importantly we cannot fail to make direct connections with current wars, in which the UK may or may not have played a part; wars based on the same tribal urges, though perhaps superstition is replaced by religion – ‘Are they the same thing?’ we are invited to ask.

HECUBA is powerful,, arresting and discomforting. Carr mixes conventional dramatic dialogue with direct address reporting or story-telling, in which characters frequently report what other characters have said, say, or are doing. Combined with her use of heightened language, this harrowing tale moves urgently forward, giving us little respite, lending the horrors great immediacy. Only occasionally does Carr become a victim of her style; for the most part her command of it is impressive.

The two main roles of Hecuba and Agamemnon, (Derbhle Crotty and Ray Fearon) are both superbly played. Both actors bring authority and their own versions of dignity to their roles. They bring a fluidity to the demands of the performing styles. We are confronted with the facts, but never pushed away from the theatre event. All other performances reach the same level of excellence.

Erica Whyman directs with confidence, obtaining the most from the team and the material, she creates a strong and apposite rhythm. Both Soutra Gilmour’s sets and Isobel Waller-Bridge’s score are hard-edged and uncompromising, and add much to this memorable performance.

David Ajao – Nepotolemus
Nadia Albina – Cassandra
Derbhle Crotty – Hecuba (pictured)
Ray Fearon – Agamemnon
Edmund Kingsley – Polymestor
Amy McAllister – Polyxena
Chu Omambala – Odysseus
Lara Stubbs – Xenia/Singer

Director – Erica Whyman
Designer – Soutra Gilmour
Lighting – Charles Balfour
Music – Isobel Waller-Bridge
Sound – Andrew Franks
Movement – Ayse Tashkiran

2015-10-04 15:34:40

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