The Last Days of Troy


West End

Shakespeare's Globe

Until Fri Jun 27

Lily Cole, The Last Days of Troy, Simon Armitage, Shakespeare's Globe

© Jonathan Keenan

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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By chance and not design I saw the world premier of this play at the Royal Exchange theatre on Friday, 8th. May. The author, Simon Armitage, presents a  version of the Iliad with, it seems, additions from the Aeneid to tie up loose ends concerning what happens to the main human characters. It seems from what he has said that he intends the story to resonate with recent (Western) adventures in invasion, though this wasn't obvious to me. More salient is the framing provided by presenting contemporary Zeus and Hera whose disputes coloured the vicissitudes of the original Trojan war as somewhat hasbeens. Zeus, for example, now carries a battered case of trinkets to sell to tourists. Armitage's text sounds well, though is a little long in parts. (I began to wilt during the listing of each Greek state's contribution to the war.) I thought the general presentation was good, with creative use of the possibilities of the Royal Exchange's circular space. One fault was that if an actor's voice dropped and they happened to be facing away from me. I couldn't hear what they said. I thought the acting was good with convincing levels of energy and pathos. The ensemble playing of all the actors was excellent, though Richard Bremmer as Zeus, Jake Fairbrother as Achilles and Colin Tierney as Odysseus were strong leads. I didn't know Lily Cole who played Helen was a supermodel, and so judged her on how she acted in the play. I thought she played her part well, and, at a point where she sang a song to remind the Greeks of their home, conjured mystery as well as melody. I hope this play has the success it deserves. 4.5 stars out of 5...