Electra has been exiled and married off to a peasant. Secretly, she seeks to avenge her father Agamemnon’s death after a brief reunion with her long lost-brother Orestes. This retelling of Euripides’ Electra from Aristeia Theatre Company gives you the basic lowdown on what happens in this ancient Greek tale, throwing in a few painful monologues charting how mentally ill the starring character is. And that’s pretty much it.

It clear that this young cast did what they could, but this show does need work.

The Chorus of four girls did well enough in talking us through the narration of the storyline; however, there was excessive pausing and a lack of pace with the dialogue, accompanied by a repetitive speech pitch-pattern which made it tiring to follow.. The actress who performed as Electra could have been watchable were it not for the mumbling and a lack of any recognisable character journey. Her monologues felt like an exposition of the thesaurus – saying the same thing over again with sentence after sentence using different synonyms for ‘stagnant’. The four lead actors playing Electra, Orestes, Clytemnestra and another whom I can only assume was the peasant Electra had been forced to marry (he had about three lines and the action on stage gave little in terms of clarifying that for the audience) all had the same impassive emotional state the whole way through. This was a big space to be performing in, perhaps the audience would have been able to hear the actors better in a smaller sized venue as then the laid-back, subtle performance styles of the lead actors may have an opportunity to more profoundly affect their audience.

I’m afraid that I could not recommend this production to anyone up at the Fringe this year. I was turned off by frilly poetic language which felt as if it was there just for the sake of it. I did not feel exposed to Electra’s suffering, neither was I brought a new perspective on Electra’s madness as the production promised. The monologue to Aegisthus’ head – represented by a paper crown on the stage floor – had me close to tears for laughing, which I do not believe was the desired effect. It clear that this young cast did what they could, but this show does need work.

Reviews by Isabella Javor

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Performances

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The Blurb

A bold and chilling modern interpretation of Euripides' ancient tragedy. Electra is consumed with resentment towards her mother Queen Clytemnestra following the ruthless murder of her dear father Agamemnon. Her anger will not subside until blood is spilled. Even if it is her own. This production will retell the same classic events, whilst exposing Electra’s unhealthy state of mind and the effects it causes on others as well as herself, resulting in a shocking conclusion.

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