At some point in the creation of this production, somebody decided that they were better at writing than Euripides. Anyone with knowledge of Greek Tragedy should know what such hubris will inevitably prompt. Trojan Women is supposedly a reworking of the play by Euripides, following the tales of four surviving women of the Trojan royal house following the sack of Ilium. In reality it merely borrows the title and any plot elements that it finds convenient. Those that are deemed inconvenient are mercilessly changed and edited to suit the whims of the author, with grim results on stage.

Attempts are made to intimidate the audience from the start with a mildly menacing collection of tickets, with any tension created by this immediately broken as several members of the tech crew burst out of the room giggling. Several attempts are made on stage to have a go at emotion but there is no base to any of it; actors sound like they are reciting lines in an angry voice rather than actually being angry. Occasionally some of the actors break past bad direction and writing to deliver a brief bit of quality; Andromache in particular stands out early on in the play, though she too is stymied by the decision to murder her son Astyanax on stage – sorry, did I just spoil the Trojan War for you?

This does not even compare to the decision to try and rape Cassandra on stage. Not only is such a risky idea in extreme bad taste but it just looked farcical. Then in retaliation she kills Agamemnon. To put this in perspective, this does not happen in the original text and it somewhat hamstrings a fair chunk of Greek myth. Who needs the classic that is Aeschlyus’ Oresteia when you can merely use rape as a cheap gimmick on stage and then follow it up with terrible stage combat?

Costumes at least look nice enough if the combat and the sellotaped stage knife do not, and the actors do genuinely seem to be putting in quite a bit of effort, which with better writing or direction may well have achieved something. Yet what remains instead is mediocrity at best and the fall from this hubris is long indeed.

Reviews by James Beagon

Assembly Roxy

The Battle of Frogs and Mice

★★★★★
Assembly Roxy

Penguinpig

★★★★
theSpace on Niddry St

Julius Caesar

★★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Wonderful World of Lapin

★★★
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

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★★★★

The Blurb

Revenge, war, murder and sex. An action-packed Greek tragedy reinvented. This tense and brutal story will leave you on the edge of your seat. Not to be missed.