New Era - The Trojan Women
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New Era - The Trojan Women

15th to 24th March 2007.

Here is the NWN review.

Euripedes still a stunner, 2,400 years on

New Era Players: The Trojan Women, at The New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 24

Euripedes' The Trojan Women deals with the plight of the women left behind in the aftermath of the fall of Troy following a 10-year siege. It was first performed 24 centuries ago, and remains one of the great anti-war plays, forever topical. As one character remarks: 'Always war somewhere'.

In this production, played without an interval, the atmospheric opening set the mood vividly with a tableau of stricken figures. Technical organisation was of a very high standard, music being blended with great skill to the spoken word. The choral speaking itself was very effective. The director was blessed with a cast of actors well equipped to bring out the tragedy of their situation.

Roger Follows, as Poseidon, introduced the action in fine voice and imposing manner, but as the sea god, he could have been dressed in a more nautical way.

Ellie Winter made a brief yet spirited sparring appearance as the goddess Athene.

The central character is Hecuba, widow of the late King Priam, and in this marathon part, Lisa Harrington was on stage throughout the 90 minutes, giving a strong performance, convincingly capturing the pathos of her predicament.

Nigel Winter was utterly believable as Talthybios, relishing his power, over the vanquished royal family, with an air of menace.

The costumes were an incongruous mix of ancient and modern, and many were far too clean. I realize the aim was to distinguish between the royal family and the common people, but they had all been through the same ordeal, and should at least all have been barefoot.

It was difficult to imagine that they had been dragged from their homes through burning rubble.

Cassandra, played with great conviction by Jane Robinson, did appear barefoot, but her costume, skin and hair were immaculate, having supposedly been pulled from her burning temple. James Winter (Meneleus) and Nicolette Conti (Helen) the cause and perpetrator of the tragedy, were suitably unforgiving and unrepentant.

Of all the women, perhaps only Helen would have made an effort to wash her face and comb her hair, and put on a clean dress to plead with her husband for her life, but surely not a suit, tights and high heels.

However, this was a bold choice and performed to a high standard. The cast were rewarded at the end with the ultimate accolade for this type of play, a long total stunned silence, followed by rapturous applause.

ERIC SAXTON