Trojan Women

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 2012

Trojan Women

The Lancaster Offshoots

The Space at Symposium Hall, Venue 43

Booking Office: 0845 557 7475

Afficianados of Greek Tragedy are spoiled for choice this year as there are three productions of Trojan Women on offer at Fringe 2012.

Trojan Women is a horrifying story of the savagery of war and its effect on four captive women, survivors of the defeated side, who remain in captivity while their Greek captors decide their fate. Troy has been destroyed and their menfolk are all dead.

Hecuba, the ousted queen of Troy, tries in vain to get her two daughters, Andromache and Cassandra, to stick together with Helen (whose carrying off to Troy precipitated the Trojan war) as they wait to hear what their Greek captors plan to do with them.  In the background, the quarrelling gods, Athena and Poseidon make playthings of their lives.

Andromache is consumed by hatred of Helen whom she blames for all the troubles that have been heaped on her. Apart from Hecuba, no-one comes out of this Greek tragedy well. The gods are as petty and self-seeking as the ‘lesser men of greater power’ who decide to throw Andromache’s baby son from a high tower unto rocks in case he might grow up to rebuild Troy.

At first the production under review didn’t seem right.  How can you justify a musical version of Euripides’ classic tale of arbitrary, bickering gods and the hapless victims of war? Doesn’t it trivialise the story?  Well, no. It sounds unlikely but this retelling of the ancient story, by a bunch of travelling musicians, works very well. In fact it serves to intensify its impact.  The cast work well together. This reviewer was struck by the intensity of the actress who brings a dreamy quality to her role as Cassandra, who is cursed by the gods with the ability to see the future with the added twist that nobody will believe her.

**** Four Stars

David Kerr

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