by Howard Colyer
Brockley Jack Studio 410 Brockley Road SE4 2DH To 2 February 2013.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 8700 887/020 8699 3966.
Review: William Russell 16 January.
Women and War in assured production.
Works about the Trojan War tend to focus either on the men or the love affair between Paris and Helen. Howard Colyer focuses instead on the women, not the war or the romance, and on the aftermath of war in this adaptation – rewriting to a large extent – of Seneca’s Roman tragedy.
He shows how wars do not necessarily end when victory is won, as the aftermath of the Arab Spring and events in Libya and Egypt have shown most recently, and that what happens next can be just as terrible and unexpected. Hubris and nemesis reign. People seldom live happily ever after.
In the case of Troy, the women have survived – but not necessarily for long. Rape, murder and confusion reign. So does the desire for revenge. The Greek commanders, helpless in the grip of events, must do what Calchas, the Greek high priest, demands. For Calchas, today, read society. And the ordinary soldiers do what soldiers do; obey orders and carry out terrible deeds against the surviving civilian population.
Colyer, nothing if not versatile as a playwright, has managed to make a play for today from his material although sometimes the language clashes slightly with the period. The anachronisms do not always achieve the result they are intended to achieve.
It is very well performed, handsomely staged and James Farrell’s direction, for Nameless Theatre, is assured although I was not too convinced by the opening Chorus of masked women.
Calchas: Tania Batzoglu.
Andromache: Mariam Bell.
Hecuba: Jacquie Crago.
Tythalbius: Georgio Galassi.
Polyxena: Avita Jay.
Astyanax: Hatty Jones.
Phyrrus: Edward Mitchell.
Helen: Josephine Rogers.
Cassandra: Jess Tobert.
Lady in Waiting: Kathy Trevelyan.
Agamemnon: Karl Wilson.
Ulysses: Daniel Wiltshire.
Director: James Farrell.
Designer: Libby Todd.
Lighting: Steve Lowe.
Sound/Musical Director: Max Pappenheim.
Movement: Leigh Tredger.
Fight director: Andrei Zayats.
Assistant director –Sarah Marr.