Bakkhai

Original play by Euripides. New version by Anne Carson.

Directed by Jillian Keiley

A stellar cast, a dramatic set, great costumes and a strange plot. Even an updated version cannot get around the plot, where Dionysus comes to earth to take revenge on humans who have disrespected him. Women follow him to the country side, where they are free to indulge their carnal desires. The king dresses as a woman to spy on them. His mother Agave returns from the country bearing a trophy – she thinks it is a lion’s head when it is actually her son’s head. You can take it from there.

I must mention Mac Fyfe’s performance as Dionysus, Gordon S Miller as Pentheus and Lucy Peacock as Agave. All were superb.  Graham Abbey as Teresias and Nigel Bennet as Kadmos were equally good in smaller roles. And of course, I have to mention the Bakkhai, the chorus who told the story. They wer visually very impressive, but I must confess that I would have preferred chanting to singing, as it might have been easier to hear the words.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Bakkhai

  1. keithhpotter says:

    It’s hard to resist “It’s All Greek to Me” (so I didn’t) as I have some trouble with the productions of ancient Greek drama that we have seen. Perhaps the social conventions are just too different for me.
    We saw The God That Comes on the same theme, but with a very different treatment, three years ago and struggled then too.
    This time around, Jillian Keiley seemed to have done a good job directing and the cast (as always, I get tired of saying this about Stratford) was very good, with Mac Fyfe as the standout – wonderfully androgynous as Dionysus and very effective in moving from fun loving to threatening in a heartbeat. I thought the production was a waste of Lucy Peacock; she can chew the scenery with the best of them, and did here, but she is capable of a much richer, more subtle performance than she had an opportunity for here.
    The Bakkhai were effective and I was okay with them singing and I thought it appropriate for followers of Dionysus, except that a couple had trouble with singing. Perhaps they were just hoarse on the night, but chanting would have avoided the problem.
    In general, it was interesting but doesn’t get the raves from me it seemed to have elicited from some other people.

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