"The power of Sophocles Electra"
by Mark Stevenson on 12/03/09

Putting on Sophocles tragedy Electra is no easy task. Making it accessible to a modern audience successfully is even more difficult. The Act Now! Drama Company have succeeded in producing a very powerful interpretation of the vengeful saga. The strong subject of sacrifice and matricide in Richard Soames clear translation is well executed by a company of 13 talented players at the Courtyard Studio, N1.
Abigail Harman, as the beautiful title character, aids herself well with just the right balance of determination and sorrow. Her Electra never becomes a drone who wails endlessly. She has humanity and in no way fails to win her audiences and her faithful bunch of choral associates pity. Her grief, on hearing of the loss of her brother, Orestes, is moving to the core and abets itself well with her gritty determination to see justice done.

The chorus of six feisty women, listed as deities in the programme, are a force to be reckoned with. They hiss, snarl, empathise and triumph when necessary and provide a very potent presence on stage. Their taunting of Electra's loathsome step-father Aegisthus (Richard Cavanagh) is a truly terrifying sequence. They also display the sensuality of the hot-blooded women of the day, notably when one of them flirts outrageously on first setting eyes on the long lost Orestes (David Puckridge). Puckridge has a gentle masculinity which makes him all the more vulnerable. In this production he is presented as the 'boy-band pop idol' of the day clad in pure white. A child at heart, his scenes with his guide are warm and touching.

Catherine Janes femme fatale, Clytemnestra, is villainess personified. She flares her nostrils and sarcastically taunts her daughter, but, still appears to be cautious around the ever observant chorus. She holds her sons ashes like a doll, celebrating that ashes they are, rather than longing for his flesh and blood presence.

The production is beautifully framed by a haunting and moving musical soundtrack and strong choices on staging. David Hunt's direction keeps the pace rolling and never becomes indulgent. The stage is bare of set, but, the actors dress it with splashes of vibrant colours against the purity of their white robes. The rousing final sequence brought the audience to its feet and left many memorable moments in the mind. Ah, those Greeks knew a thing or two.

Add Your review?

Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Mark Stevenson
Adventures of Royston Cockfosters
Great comedy escapism adventure romp! by Mark Stevenson
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Something daringly wicked hits stage by Mark Stevenson
Carrie's War
Carrie's war with the audience by Mark Stevenson
The Woman In Black
Still Chilling a full house by Mark Stevenson
Absurd Person Singular
Very Funny Evening of Ayckbourn by Mark Stevenson