November 3, 2006
90 minutes of fast paced intense drama tells the story of Euripides' challenging text 'Orestes'. The tale begins with the apparently sealed fate of siblings Electra and Orestes, both guilty of matricide; an act inspired by their father Agamemnon's murder at the hands of their mother Klytemnestra. Agamemnon is murdered in his bath by Klytmnestra to in turn avenge Agamemnon's sacrificial murder of their child Iphigenia. This sacrifice Agamemnon makes to appease the Gods to provide a wind for both him and his brother so they can set sail to rescue sister-in-law Helen from the hands of her lover in Troy. This clever adaptation by Helen Edmundson is generated at a time when honour killings make frequent reading in the daily press and public life is reported as being dogged by corruption. The direction of Nancy Meckler gives the production an urgent, vital and contemporary interpretation. This is supported by the decision to remove the Chorus, although on-stage human figurines echo this larger body of actors. The sculpted human figures are sensitively lit to offer a real sense of inner life similar to a quality found in the work of Anthony Gormley. However the strongest connection the figurines hold is to a mausoleum, for this is the room where the guilty siblings are being held, sharing a large opulent bed on which they can play out their last emotions, before being fed to the mob. The set, with an over-sized door where rows of gold shoes are neatly stacked, tells the story on many different levels. The climactic ending is in keeping with the extremes of the events that have gone before. With no interval, this rich, intense performance leaves you burning for more! The company benefits from exploring innovative ways of expression in its headquarters of a converted old Soho Laundry and offers a fresh approach of combining physical theatre with text. Electra is played by a fascinating actress, Mairead McKinley, who entirely absorbs herself in the extremes of the situation and the emotions of the virgin murderess without compromise. Electra starts the performance with her moving story telling. Indeed there is a special group of actors on stage throughout 'Orestes' but they embrace the audience as one of their own, after all this is a shared experience.