Antigone Alone

Michael McEvoys’s tight re-telling of the story of the fierce young heroine Antigone weaves together all three of Sophocles’s Theban plays into an intimate and impactful solo piece.

Simplicity is really the key to this outstanding show. A fresh take on a timeless story.

Antigone finds herself at odds with the new King as she seeks to bury her brother’s body after battle. Her conscience propels her on to a perilous path that she hopes to explain to her audience but never shies away from. Modern audiences may find it hard to identify with her desire to respect the Gods and her very real fear that without the correct ritual observances, his spirit will be lost. What will be universally understood though is her loyalty to her family and her determined defiance of the state when it conflicts with personal responsibility. One of the joys of discovering (or rediscovering) the classics is that moment of resonance, that moment when a theme examined two and a half thousand years ago strikes a contemporary parallel. Antigone today, might be in the Extinction Rebellion riots or leaking government cover ups.

Utterly alone onstage and utterly compelling, Joanna Lucas inhabits the titular heroine in a mesmerising performance. She cycles through righteous anger, reflection, acceptance and humour as the narrative demands with great sincerity. In the midst of the all the gloom and peril typical of the Greek tragedies, there is a scene where she comments on a group of sentries attempting to catch her. I found this hilarious and I suspect Lucas makes a fine comic actress as well.

McEvoy and Director Jennifer McEvoy also direct the Globe Players and, while this is not an educational play, there is certainly a lot of education to be had in it. The script is highly accessible, uncluttering the complex family ties and backstory by utilising a frame narrative to nest the stories of Oedipus and his family into the play.

The stage is very simply set, the audience’s imagination is deftly harnessed by both the words and acting to transform it from a cave, to a desert battle field and to a court in the blink of an eye.

Simplicity is really the key to this outstanding show. A fresh take on a timeless story.

Reviews by Julia French

Rialto Theatre

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★★★
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Antigone Alone

★★★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, having defied the law and buried her brother’s body, can now expect to die. Last year’s solo success presents Antigone as a defiant upholder of morality over political expediency - a still relevant tale. ‘MUST SEE SHOW - Joanna Lucas held us gripped. A powerful, unforgettable performance. Mesmerising. And what a story! The Oedipus legend in a masterful retelling.’ (fringereview.co.uk) ‘Michael McEvoy’s writing is fluid, coherent, engaging; Antigone strong, stubborn, difficult, uncompromising... alternately furious, indignant, nostalgic, funny.’ (broadwaybaby.com)

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