Antigone: the Musical

The civil war in Thebes is over, and Antigone’s two brothers are dead. Her uncle, Creon, is now king and has declared that one of the brothers (Eteocles) will be given a proper burial while the other will be left to rot (Polynices). Anyone who disobeys his order is to be put to death, but that is not going to stop Antigone. She knows that it is her duty to bury her brother, and she is willing to risk everything – even her life – to do so. Creon is a wicked man for what he has done, ordering such an inhumane thing. Creon exposes himself as an inflexible dictator who exercises his power over the people selfishly. Antigone is heroic for standing up to him.

A fascinating musical production that packs a punch

What’s the theme? In a nutshell, it’s about a group of friends who band together to take on an unjust ruler. They’re armed with little more than their wit and courage, but they’re determined to stand up for what is right (both morally and according to the religious convention). Along the way, they learn that the power of the people can be greater than any ruler.

Why see it? Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, this show is sure to entertain. The songs are catchy (I was humming away later to “someone’s gotta be the villain”!” and the characters are lovable (even the villain, Creon, is strangely likable). Hard Luck Musicals was established in 2021 by students Marina McCready and Felix Elliott whilst studying at the University of Cambridge. The cast, sound engineers, and musicians are young, accomplished, and passionate. Each character is developed (I was drawn to the Fool/Adviser to Creon but it is an ensemble cast).

Antigone has always been one of my favourite stories from ancient Greece. ThThat’saybe not too surprising for an old Philosophy student who did his thesis on Civil Disobedience! Antigone is a radical story about rebellion and standing up for your principles in the face of state power. This retelling embraces that. I loved the protest songs, the holding up of placards/signs, and the leaflets handed to the audience. In this retelling, the ending is different from the Sophocles original (and that’s all I’m saying as I don’t want to plot spoil!). At a time of turmoil in our own country, this ancient story is still relevant and this production packs a punch. It’ll leave you feeling inspired and ready to take on the world!

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

Listings information

Date 15-27 August (excluding the 21st)
Venue theSpace @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre (15-20th August); Fleming
Theatre (22-27th August)
Time 16:25 (15-20th August); 19:20 (22-27th August) duration 50 mins
Ticket prices £10 / concessions £8
Venue box office 0131 510 2384 /
Fringe box office 0131 226 0000 /

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