Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Oedipus" & "Electra" - March 2008

Queen Margaret University drama students are staging double bills of Greek tragedies last week and next in the Citizens Stalls Studio, and tonight we caught the final night of the first of them - "Oedipus" adapted by David Greig followed by "Electra" adapted by Tom McGrath.

"Oedipus" was a well put together show featuring powerful performances from Gregor Firth as Oedipus and Christopher Hill as Creon. Firth is particularly effective when addressing the audience directly as if they were local citizens - he has a strong stage presence and his questioning genuinely felt like he was demanding answers. Equally effective was Hill's portrayal of Creon making a case for his innocence - a lovely written set piece delivered perfectly. The rest of the cast performed well but truth be told there really wasn't a great deal for them to get their teeth into - it's an entertaining enough play but I'm not sure it really works as any kind of showcase piece.

"Electra" was more of an ensemble piece and gave each of its cast a fairly substantial chance to contribute. Anneka Harry was a strong Electra who like Firth made the most of her chance to speak directly to the audience. She succeeded in making Electra sympathetic enough to overcome any doubts about the merits of her actions. The cast all get their moments to shine with Laura Sullivan's Clymenestra really making an impact. But this is very much an ensemble performance and also features some wonderful movement/chorus scenes, and a memorable opening set piece courtesy of some very effective make up and lighting. It was also very cleverly directed by Rachel Drew in that the cast largely remained on stage even if not featuring in the action - saving a lot of entrances/exits.

Finally, the drama wasn't complete at the end of the performances. We then had a production member address the audience to make a short statement about how the cast and crew had been limited in their ability to put together the shows - in particular in relation to costumes and sound, and that they felt let down by the lack of support from the university. Now I have mixed feelings about this - firstly, they have nothing to apologise for as I thought the costumes, sound and everything else about the productions was perfectly fine. Secondly, even if it had an impact I'm not entirely sure how professional it is to make it public, but another part of me says that if they feel it is a good way to bring pressure for better support then they should do what they feel the need to do.

"Oedipus" and "Electra" have now completed their runs but the second set of performances ("Medea" and "Trojan Women") run at the Citizens from 12th to 15th March.

4 Heckles

Anonymous said...
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amie said...

I agree Rachel Fletcher-Hudsons speech was indeed moving. Oedipus and Electra were both brilliant productions showcasing all the actors, cant wait to see trojan women and medea!

Anonymous said...

I agree whole heartedly with the prior comments towards Oedipus. Not only was Rachel Fletcher-Hudson's final speech a moving piece of work, fierce and grotesque images brought to life by her excellent delivery, but Keith McLeish's interesting take on the cooky priest gave sparkle to the earlier scenes. A great production, using the small space well to make the audience feel truly uncomfortable. I loved it!

Waldorf said...

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