4 STARS ****
Gang culture as you’ve never seen it before – captivating, violent and surprisingly humorous. Roy Williams’ version of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ certainly gets you thinking. Taking Sophocles’ play and giving it a convincingly modern twist is no easy feat, yet with an updated script that uses “fam” too many times to count, some stylish costumes and awesome staging that includes skips that turn into chairs, ‘Antigone’ transports you with ease to the grit of Britain’s streets.
With CCTV cameras everywhere and the use of projector screens as well as live film, the digital age heightens the intensity of the dictatorship created by Creo (Mark Monero) and his gang. The oppressive atmosphere (which includes some very shrill music and flashing lights) is in keeping with the serious issue at the heart of the play – what constitutes right and wrong in the city of Thebes.
‘Antigone’ portrays a young woman leading a rebellion against a man in a position of control and I would happily advise you to watch it for this alone as Gordon-Liburd’s performance as Antigone (or Tig as she is known in this modern adaption) is wonderfully gripping.
Don’t worry, it’s not all gloomy. Creo and his henchmen are surprisingly likeable and humorous which is a welcome relief. Another hilarious adaptation is the transformation of the soothsayer Tiresias into Tyrese (Oliver Wilson), a Rastafarian tramp whom Creo accuses of being on drugs, hence the unreliability of his prophecy.
A lot of the play involves discussion and unfortunately, with no interval, by the end of the play it’s hard to focus. I would advise going when you are fully awake and ready to concentrate (no Crisis the night before) Although the plot is simple, you may find your head buzzing at the end because of the drama’s intensity and the many difficult questions it brings up.
Overall, a very exciting piece of modern theatre with a brilliant script and some seriously compelling acting that gives a new life to Sophocles’ play.
Edited by Harriet Dunlea.
Image courtesy of Lakeside Arts.