Tragedy awaits three royals in this ancient Greek drama. The pious Hippolytus has a close relationship with Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt. He is her favourite among mortals, not least because he takes the notion of chastity she embodies very seriously - not at all interested in fornication, or even pictures of such acts, and unafraid to speak voluminously on his virtue in this regard. This devotion to chastity doesn't sit well with the imperative to worship Aphrodite, and when challenged on this matter he makes his disdain for her clear. Hubris is never wise when you are the namesake of a Greek tragedy, and sure enough Aphrodite doesn't take it well.
One wrong step in these plays is enough to mark someone doomed, so the drama here isn't so much in wondering how a character will get out of their predicament, but watching and waiting for their inevitable decline. Various wrong steps are made - hubris, unwise speech, restrictive vows, and hasty judgement - but, as so often in real life, one can see exactly why these people made the choices they did, sometimes with noble, though misguided motives, and so their slide to calamity is tragic. This descent towards destruction is paced quickly, with a cast who are always enthusiastic, clear in their story-telling, and dedicated to their performance, despite the odd ropey accent or stilted phrase.
The leads do their job well, with a forthright Hippolytus carrying a sense of virility with his chastity, Theseus a strong presence and the articulate rage of a wronged monarch, and Phaedra summoning a centred nobility from her paroxysms of passion - or so it seems until her petty revenge suggests that this honourable countenance is perhaps the haughtiness of a woman scorned. The two goddesses are perhaps too human in comparison to these impressive figures.
The chorus are worthy of note, making effort to add flavour with Greek phrases and simple but interesting music on djembe and guitar; shifting rhythms and repetitive musical phrases adding the requisite touch of other-worldliness to this encounter between ill-fated Man and the immortals who decree such fate.
This is a low-budget, simple production that serves its source well - the building blocks of ancient drama needs vigour, not embellishment, and that makes this an engaging, entertaining performance.