Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Burial at Thebes

The Rose is Kingston’s new theatre (opened 2008). I’ve been wanting to check it out, and Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company’s production of Seamus Heaney’s new translation of Sophocles’ Antigone seemed a good opportunity to do so.

While Kingston is quite a comfortable area of south west London, I feel the town centre is also quite a bit chavvy, so I was very worried The Rose would struggle to find an audience. I was totally relieved therefore to see it had quite a respectable turn-out: the theatre seemed about two-thirds full when I went.

The translation was pretty magnificent: simple and clear, but powerfully poetic when it needs to be. Greek tragedy is pretty wonderful stuff – it draws you in to the moral issues at stake quickly, presents all the arguments for and against without redundancy or over-analysis, gets on with the story, and wham bang all over in about 75 minutes. Brilliant.

Great ensemble work from the company. Their use of the set was good – I don’t know whether it was their own or they were just using what is there already. Apparently, The Rose is unfinished and it’s the backstage area which is still incomplete. The set certainly looked very rawly concrete.

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