Agamemnon

To start with the positives, this was a very enthusiastic show. Lines had been learned, movements had been strictly choreographed but this was almost part of the problem. It was clear that a lot of hard work had gone into it by all those involved. Agamemnon is a tough story to sell in an hour after all, but where they had mastered finesse, they lacked flair and so lost the art of the performance. There were elements that were so overacted that they became unbearable, but at the other end of the spectrum there were those who just disappeared into the background of the ensemble.

In an attempt not to discourage such young performers, I would suggest maybe next time toning it down just a touch

Having said this, Clytemnestra was outstanding. She stood out from the crowd and not just because she spent most of her time atop a chair. Her forceful delivery of lines reeled with the anger of a character who had been betrayed in so many ways.

Menelaus gave it a good shot. He provided the much needed lighter moments to this very intense tragedy but his speech was such a conundrum it was difficult to take in. His accents ranged to an East End dropping of the “h”, to an undefinable “foreign” twang. It was like watching someone audition for their life in the last chance saloon that is the oversaturated Brighton theatre scene.

This performance was a real pity; the press release promised an example of the ancient art of gestural language 'chironomia', but this too just didn’t hit the mark. Had they relinquished some of the physicality of the performance and concentrated on these ancient patterns of gestural language then it could have made for a more powerful show. Sadly this was not the case.

One particularly odd part to the performance that had the audience in stitches- and I’m guessing for the wrong reason- was the high pitched yelping of “Helen” over and over by one of the male performers, while the other was dry humping the air. I’m not entirely sure this can be classed as physical theatre. It was quite awkward to watch and from looking around a room full of sniggers, I don’t think I was alone in this opinion.

If a show could be judged on enthusiasm alone then this could score quite highly, but in terms of entertainment, art, value for money and downright making sense, this performance was closer to the bottom of the pile. In an attempt not to discourage such young performers, I would suggest maybe next time toning it down just a touch. A Greek tragedy is tragic yes, but for very different reasons. 

Reviews by Bethan Troakes

Komedia Theatre

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

“Blood will have blood/ The high will fall/ the ghosts of men who died for nothing/ will walk and wail by a ruined wall” A brutal description of war, Berkoff’s ‘Agamemnon’ delves into the dirty details of battles on the field and between the sexes. Performed by a strong cast of eight, this breathless rampage of a production explodes with muscular language and physicality. Dynamic, physical theatre and political passion combine to tell the story of those who suffer and those who thrive in war. Directed by award-winning international director Tanushka Marah (Company: Collisions, Young Vic).

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