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The Trojan Women

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Young poet Caroline Bird's version of Euripides' gory tragedy is unflinching in its visceral examination of the horrors of war: there were several moments when I was glad I'd come with an empty stomach.

I mean this as a compliment: the effect is achieved not only through Bird's muscular, urgent language, but through director Christopher Haydon's highly intelligent production. Our setting is a mother and baby unit inside a prison. Outside, Troy burns, but inside these soundproofed walls are the women – beautiful, high-born, or pregnant – who've been spared death, but await allocation to Greek soldiers as spoils of war.

The production brilliantly captures the awful banality of horror: the hospital unit, with its scuffed, childish decorations of owls and rabbits, feels disconcertingly familiar, and its two inmates – Hecuba (Dearbhla Molloy) and the Chorus (Lucy Ellinson, a pregnant commoner handcuffed to her bed) – complain as much about the air conditioning as about the fact they've seen their husbands and children murdered in front of them.

Not everything quite works: in video clips that bookend the action, Roger Lloyd-Pack as a louche Poseidon and Tamsin Greig as a flighty Athena offer some rather cringeworthy commentary ('wrap it up, Jackanory,' says Greig). But most of the acting is excellent: Ellinson is brilliantly naturalistic as the Chorus; Louise Brealey is cleverly cast as Cassandra, Andromache and Helen, evoking the faceless everywomen who are always the victims of war; and Sam Cox inspires genuine terror as the vengeful Menelaus.


Event website:
£20, concs £10
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