The Trojan Women

What happens to the innocent when a war is lost? Troy has fallen, the wooden horse has unleashed its deadly cargo, the men lie slaughtered and the Greek army stands triumphant. Yet for the noblewomen of the city, the siege never ends.

The Trojan Women exploits C Nova’s basement space to its utmost. Smoke, noise and torches transform the venue into a prison in which the women cower, awaiting their fate at the hands of their Greek captors. Their reactions range from defiance to resignation, but terror is the dominant emotion. Bleeding and bruised, they are menaced by rape and brutalization.

There is no stage; the audience is invited to sit on the ground amongst the prisoners, making us witnesses rather than mere viewers. The actors make excellent use of the staging, sometimes obscuring themselves behind pillars, sometimes imploring audience members directly. Each time the door opens to admit further devastation, a chill runs through characters and spectators alike.

Unfortunately, the acting is not quite consistent enough to live up to the expectations raised by the staging. All the actors suffer from lapses into over-theatricality. The costumes were effective, but I questioned the decision to have Jordan Robert’s Agamemnon wear his (admittedly intimidating) helmet throughout his scene: it didn’t help a performance which already had too much in common with that of a pantomime villain. The director has dispensed with common artistic devices in favour of immersive naturalism. It works, but sometimes feels at odds with the dramatic, traditional script.

Nonetheless, being surrounded by the women’s anguish is harrowing. This is less a play and more an experience. There’s no plot development to speak of. The production is excellent at wringing pity and horror from the audience; it keeps this up for an hour of relentless misery, ensuring - rather monotonously - that we feel little else. There is no conclusion, only inevitability, and the audience is left shellshocked and applauding in an empty room.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Immersive reminder of the price paid by those who survive the atrocities of war. Their city destroyed; their husbands slaughtered: the women of Troy look to their gods in vain. John Barton's gritty adaptation of Euripides' tragedy.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets