Almost two hours of Greek tragedy at 11pm in week nine was an ambitious undertaking, but this REDS (Revived Emmanuel Dramatic Society) production manages to bring life to Euripides’ 2000-year-old masterpiece.
The show opens with a clean white background – washing, hung out to dry across the stage. The set designer must be commended for a simple but effective set, which both occupies the female chorus in washing cloth and provides a dramatic backdrop for the actors.
From this chorus, Amy O’Shea and Charlotte Cromie stand out, as they are the only two who consistently continue to play their roles, standing ominously stock still when the audience’s attention is not on them. The same can unfortunately not be said for the other chorus members – whose subtle but constant movements draw the audience’s eye away from the main action.
Ruth Harvey does a very good job with the lighting. It not only adds drama, but also breaks up the play nicely between scenes, as there are no set changes and the chorus remain onstage throughout.
The costumes, from designer Eulilee Brown, are good across the board. The only one which stands out is that of the nurse: mismatched in comparison with the others, yet not worn or dirty enough for this to be a deliberate reflection of her status.
Inge-Vera Lipsius is fantastic as Phaedra, showing raw emotion and a fitting amount of tragic crying and shaking. However, Rebecca Metzer as the nurse is unconvincing, meaning that her drama becomes a bit tedious at times.
Adam Mirsky and Kyle Turakhia, as Hippolytus and Theseus respectively, stand out as powerful actors who use their tragic moments in the spotlight to really hold the stage and command the audience’s full attention.
True to the simplicity of the production, props are few and far between. The blood used in Hippolytus’ demise has so much potential, but unfortunately manifests itself in a weird splodge on the actor’s face. There could have been a lot more of it too, as Hippolytus is supposed to have been horrifically injured.
The script could have been cut a little more, as the performance went at least half an hour over its stated run-time. Apart from this though, the interpretation is a good one, resulting in a simple but powerful production.