Medea: Greece Meets West

Billed as a “psychological drama conflating classical Greek mystery with jazzical profanity”, Medea: Greece Meets West contains very little Medea and not much more jazz.

Having to explain the story and its associated themes which should have been made clear through the performance itself is more than a little disappointing

It’s not that the performers don’t pull their weight. In fact, Stella Markou shows off her clear vocal talent, accompanied by Joanna Nicholson on the saxophone and Billie Whittaker on the piano: a trio of talented performers. The first five minutes of music are hugely enjoyable and bode well for the show to come.

The problem is that absolutely nothing changes from this point onwards. A sense of development is key in any performance, but the music here feels very repetitive. Markou comes in with tiny snippets from Euripides’ Medea every now and then, but with little variation and apparently limited direction. If the piece didn’t have the word “Medea” in the title, you probably would never have associated the two. It’s never a good sign when, midway through the performance, the audience are treated to a little background lecture on Medea in case they haven’t done their homework. Having to explain the story and its associated themes which should have been made clear through the performance itself is more than a little disappointing.

There’s no sense of emotional connection to anything that happens. “I’m going to kill my children!” Markou sings every so often. Well, good to know I suppose, but can we have a few more details? Unfortunately, there’s little hint of anything more. There’s really not much more to say other than that I do wish the performers had had better material to work with - they could have made something more out of it. As it is, it’s not worth your time unless you’re the sort of person who hangs about in lifts just to listen to the music.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Following its successful debut in 2013, Edinburgh composers Kostas Rekleitis and Derek Williams team up with acclaimed US soprano Stella Markou, US pianist Billie Whittaker and virtuoso bass clarinettist Joanna Nicholson, in this psychological drama conflating classical Greek mystery with jazzical profanity (performed in English translation). Medea meets her match when the four corners of the earth collide at the Jazz Bar. Eastern love songs and other ancient stories woven into the fabric of western jazz with modernist classical highlights. Detailed information about the participants: Performers: www.stellamarkou.com www.billiewhittaker.com sound-scotland.co.uk/profile/joanna-nicholson. Composers: kostas-rekleitis.blogspot.co.uk, www.derekwilliams.net