Thursday, February 13, 2020

Two dramatic productions

Remember when I used to write theatre reviews here? Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to get down to see the UCL Frogs or KCL's Dionysus in the Underworld, but I did see a couple of things in January.

I felt a bit of an interloper at Fragments of Divine Ecstasy - almost everyone else in the audience was a student. I really only went along because my friend and colleague Lottie Parkyn was interviewing another friend, David Bullen, at the end of the event (you can see some snippets from the interview on the King's Greek Play Twitter account). But I was very glad I went.

I've had variable experiences with student productions - some have been quite poor. But when they get it right, they can be really on fire. Through a series of vignettes, some adapted from ancient or modern sources, some written by the cast, the production examined aspects of Dionysus. They succeeded in presenting the god in all his forms - intoxicated, ambiguous, sexy, dangerous. A good evening, and I hope those involved go on to do more in this vein.

The other thing I saw was George Eugeniou's production of Oedipus the King at Theatro Technis in Camden. I've seen quite a few productions of Greek drama there, and this was one of the best. Small in scale, it punches well above its weight in emotional terms. The audience are involved from the start as part of the Chorus - when the Chorus is addressed, people turn to the audience. Leigh Hughes' Oedipus conveys all the unnecessary arrogance of the character, and the production is clearly not sympathetic towards him. He is ably supported by the rest of the cast. At the end, the production remembers, as not every one does, that the fall of Oedipus means the lifting of the curse from Thebes.

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