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production, composed of monologues based on Ovid’s Heroides, tells
the tales of five women, known to us through myth and cultural stereotype.
Helen, Medea, Penelope, Dido and Hypermnestra have been ravaged
by the war in Troy, whether from a distance or by direct experience,
and then variously let down by their men. Their situations collide
curiously, despite their disparate political allegiances, and their
stories reveal them as pawns, commodities. They are also very moving
and very cleverly written.
stories were woven together in an engaging manner. Even someone
with no previous knowledge of any of their stories could have picked
up their situations, yet the script was never patronising or boring.
Nanw Rowlands really stood out as the bitter, dignified Medea, screaming
into the void left by her husband Jason, and epitomising both queenliness
and angry heartbreak. Heather Oliver as Dido was similarly believable,
and really brought her story to life without ever descending into
fact, the script as a whole was a very well-considered piece of
both translation and drama. Even more impressive is the fact that
the writer, Kaffy Rice-Oxley, was due to play Hypermnestra but unfortunately
had to pull out just two weeks ago due to illness. Yet not once
was it apparent that this was a play potentially chaotic due to
this late change-around; not one of the actresses let down the others.
In fact, the five women were sympathetic in performance, dealing
well with a script that spliced together their stories and complaints.
could have been a play shot with cliché and ill-acted emotion. In
fact, it was nothing of the sort; you really felt true tragedy was
at work. In fact, it was so involving that at the end of its 45
minutes weren’t quite long enough. I’d have liked a little longer
amid the involving sorrow, anger and grief of Ancient Greece.
views expressed in these comments are those of the contributor's
and not the BBC.