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Lysistrata (tour-Norwich)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It is usually the tragedies of the ancient Greek dramatists which are most often staged today Their themes of power politics, betrayal and revenge are alive across the centuries. Actors of Dionysus is a Brighton-based company committed to presenting the comedies (not so often staged) as well as the tragedies, re-interpreted for modern audiences. So David Stuttard’s version of the Lysistrata of Aristophanes is a transference rather than a translation of the text.

This is the famous anti-war story in which the women of Athens broker a peace between their city-state and its enemies through refusing sexual favours to their men. It can also be viewed as a feminist tract and has often been staged as such in the past few decades. Mitch Mitchelson’s production incorporates elements of both viewpoints in a modern-dress setting where a scaffolding plays the part of city walls and the broad jokes and fake phalluses of the satyr plays take their rightful place.

Tamsin Shasha is very good as the title character, from her first interruption of the procession of fallen soldiers’ coffins to the acceptance of Remembrance commemorations at the end. In between she whips her occasionally reluctant co-conspirators into line ¬(Kali Hughes and Lindsay Sharman) and runs both metaphorical and actual rings around the pompous men who think they’re on top (Kieran Garland and Mark Katz). Greek at school was never as naughty and so much fun as this.


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