12 posts categorized "Tragedy" Feed

Rupert Goold's Romeo & Juliet, Courtyard Theatre, Stratford

Sam-Troughton-and-Mariah--001Romeo and Juliet, on the surface, is a very silly story for any sensible thinking person. Two young teens meet and fall in love at first sight (Romeo after only moments before being infatuated with another), agree to marry the next day then end up killing themselves.

Teen love, angst and rebellion is of course a timeless theme but it is the 'gang culture' of Verona which resonates the strongest with modern times - perhaps why Goold eschewed guns for the more traditional blades as weapons of choice?

His approach is to give the play the energy of a teen on Red Bull, keeping the first half sexually charged and full of teasing, fun and humour. There is some brilliant skitting (and scene stealing) by Mercutio, the marvellous bleach-haired Jonjo O'Neill, who plays on the sexual double-entendres to the maximum.

Romeo, played by Sam Troughton (BBC's Robin Hood) is at times excitable and cocky while at others  awkward and withdrawn. However, he could learn something about clarity of delivery from Jude Law as he did have a tendency to garble his lines in the passion of the performance. 

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Elektra at the Young Vic (and it was free!)

Elektra-new_6_wide Greek Gods were my favourite bit of RE at school - they were far more interesting to me as 12/13 year old than the bible which is the only other thing we studied. The Gods were far more colourful and seemed more human to me somehow with their jealousy, anger, hatred, passion and love.

Greek tragedies have a similar appeal but now with the added realisation that they have subsequently influenced so many writers and are still being interpreted today. And Elektra is just one example, this time being retold through the eyes of poet and professor of classics Anne Carson.

Elektra is one of three surviving children of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra (glad we didn't learn about them in school - can you imagine the spelling challenge?). Elektra is kept at home with her sister Chrysothemis by her mother and her mother's lover Aegisthus who both murdered Agamemnon. Her brother Orestes escaped to safety.

While Chrysothemis has accepted the situation the best she can, Elektra is grief stricken and broods on revenge (traces of Hamlet?). Her only hope is that Orestes will return and do the deed thus releasing her.

*Plot spoilers* Luckily for Elektra but unknown to her, Orestes is planning to do just that. He sends a messenger ahead supposedly heralding his death in a chariot-racing accident (cue mother quite relieved the potentially vengeful son is out the way) and he will then follow on, unrecognised by years away, gaining access to the palace by being the bearer of evidence of his own death in the form of a casket of ashes.

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