Theatre Review - Medea

IT was my first visit to the spanking new @SohoPlace. Staged in the round, Dominic Cooke’s modern-dress production of Medea makes brilliant use of its curved auditorium.

Greeted by Vicky Mortimer’s tiled playing area, one immediately guesses there will be a dousing of water. The downpour at the end does not disappoint, washing away the traces of the bloodbath that has occurred offstage moments before.

Sophie Okonedo is mesmerising as the women scorned by her husband Jason, who takes a younger wife, and allows his father-in-law, King Creon, to banish Medea and their children.

Ben Daniels plays all the male parts. He circles the stage in slow motion, before assuming a role. A chorus of three women (Jo McInnes, Amy Trigg and Penny Layden) observe and comment from the audience.

American poet Robinson Jeffers’ 1947 adaptation of Euripides’ Greek tragedy has lost none of its power and crackles with energy.

Medea is considered an outsider in Corinth. Much is made of the fact that Jason’s new wife is pale with blonde hair while Medea’s foreignness is amplified. When she is told of her banish­ment, she is under no illusions as to what life as an abandoned wife and refugee entails and exacts a bloody revenge.

With two award-winning lead performances and flawless direction, this tour de force production is unmissable.

until April 22

Originally published by Westminster Extra