9 March 2011 WOS Rating: Glyn Maxwellís latest piece shows a pleasing respect for the form of Greek drama, if not the absolute substance of the stories upon which it is based. Adapting elements from Hecuba and The Women of Troy, After Troy does a more than satisfactory job of stuffing the themes of these classic tales into the form of a British five act play.
The Greeks have sacked the greatest city in civilisation, for reasons that were once important but are now fading into irrelevance. All the men of Troy are dead, the women are captives and the psychological toll on both the victors and the vanquished is beyond measure. In the middle of this is Talthybius, the scribe, an everyman observe who is compelled to write all the madness down.
Much of the success of the show is due to the intelligent work done in contrasting the masculine and the feminine. The captured females invoke the ghost of their former home through dance and song, to the bafflement of the soldiers guarding them. The Greek military men speak with a gruff vocal pattern, sometimes on the level of a bark. The language is as course as a gravel driveway and there is a lot of dark comedy amongst the rubble.
With many great performances on show, it is
Oscar Pearce as Talthybius who steals the show at the last gasp. Edging into the pool of light surrounding the grieving and unhinged Hecuba, Talthybius haltingly begins to sing the Trojanís song. Suddenly his purpose becomes clear, he is the author and he is everyman. He is performing the same purpose as Maxwell: he observes, we writes, he adapts. That a piece can capture both the human tragedy of Greek drama as well as a sidewise look at the role of the author is most impressive.
- Josh Tomalin
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