Tuesday, June 12, 2012

‘Antigone’ by Sophocles (in a version by Don Taylor)

12 June 2012

At the beginning of Polly Findlay’s production of ‘Antigone’ at the National Theatre, the actors create a fleeting tableau. They gather around a table to watch something happen on a small television set, recreating that famous photograph of Obama and his team hearing about the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011, with Christopher Eccleston’s King Creon in the Presidential position. After the briefest of pauses, the cast rise from their seats and return to the rapid pace of busy office life. This production of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ (in a version by Don Taylor) appears to be set in a non-specified Eastern European dictatorship in the 1970s (though I felt that the plastic bottles of mineral water on the desks seemed inaccurate amid the period detail). Christopher Eccleston is excellent as Creon, finding a surprising degree of sympathy in a brutal dictator who is struggling with the need to appear a strong and decisive leader as public opinion begins to sway against him. His performance was subtle and clever, turning his mood on a sixpence and discovering moments of humour amongst the angst of classical Greek tragedy, without resorting to sending it up. Speaking of which, it was interesting to see this sequel to Oedipus Rex so soon after watching Spymonkey’s wonderful spoof ‘Oedipussy’ (reviewed here in February 2012) which actually proved very helpful in my understanding of the backstory. I last saw Jodie Whittaker in Joe Cornish’s brilliant debut film ‘Attack The Block’ (reviewed here in May 2011) and it was good to see her on stage here in a great performance as ‘Antigone’. The rest of the cast took turns as a sequential relay Greek Chorus (much like the Chorus in the Propeller production of ‘Henry V’, reviewed here in December 2011). It was an impressive and enjoyable production, particularly memorable for Eccleston, Whittaker and Soutra Gilmour’s bleak office set.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home