Jack Studio Theatre (previously Brockley Studio Theatre)
Where: Outer London
18 January 2013 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Seneca wrote his Latin adaptation of Euripides' Trojan Women at a time when he was in exile and in fear for his life. This too is the fate of the last few survivors following the fall of Troy. The Greeks have overcome the Trojans by their clever ruse of the Trojan Horse and Troy is now merely a smoking shell. As the Greeks wait for the tide to take them and their prisoners home, the Greek soldiers squabble over the prisoners, some wanting to kill them all to prevent uprisings, others determined to let them live, even if only to be enslaved by powerful, and in some cases mad, Greeks. All the while the soldiers realise that they will themselves not be welcomed home as victors. After ten years of a foreign war, they will have been forgotten.
Howard Colyer's free adaptation of Seneca's version of the play updates the language with modern-day swearing and other idiom, but otherwise seems fairly true to the original, with the traditional chorus featuring prominently. The chorus sway with the movement of the tides and are hidden behind masks to highlight their anonymity (the masks also slightly muffling their lines, which is a shame). There's a deliciously nuts Cassandra in
Jess Tobert and a strong, defiant Hecuba ( Jacquie Crago). The Greek soldiers are suitably buff and testosterone-fuelled and Pyrrhus ( Edward Mitchell), Agamemnon ( Karl Wilson) and Ulysses ( Daniel Wiltshire) provide much macho posturing. The humour largely falls flat though. In Seneca's day, reading the runes from chicken and pigs' innards was a serious business, so it jarred to have one of the soldiers make light of it as though cynically commenting on horsemeat in Teso burgers.
A timeless play about strong women overcoming tragic circumstances,
Trojan Women highlights what happens not only to the losers in a war, but also the desperate effect on the winning side. This play may have first been performed in 415BC, but it's just as relevant to contemporary war as it was to the Ancient Greeks and Trojans and is well worth the revival. It's also an interesting take on those proclaiming themselves as prophets. As Cassandra says, she's "fated always to tell the truth and never to be believed". At least she got to say "I told you so!"
Carole Gordon Related Content
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Tanzi Libre First things first, it's great to see the Southwark Playhouse open again. Set halfway down New... Michael Coveney: Big Apple bites and Manhattan memories You should always do new things in familiar cities. Over the past few days in New York, I walked a... : Kendal & co in Podcast Relatively Speaking Q&A Last night (21 May 2013), 140 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers attended Relatively Speaking at the West... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... Kimberley Walsh & Denise Van Outen toast Tointon in 1st Night Photos: Relatively Speaking Strictly Come Dancing stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev toasted former S... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre ... Sheila Hancock shows wild side in Video: Barking in Essex trailer As this new trailer reveals, Sheila Hancock has had a dramatic TOWIE-style makeover for her forthcom... : Critics convinced by Review Round-up Relatively Speaking? Lindsay Posner's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking opened at the Wyndham's Theatre las... Relatively Speaking Goodness knows why Alan Ayckbourn's debut success has had to wait 46 years for its first West End ...