Medea, the ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, is given a contemporary twist at the new @sohoplace. The harsh intimacy of the venue leaves you with nowhere to hide from the unravelling horror which has always sparked debate about injustice, racism and sexism.
The show very much belongs to the two leads: Sophie Okonedo and Ben Daniels. Sophie's diction, sarcasm and emotional weight are nothing short of majestic. Ben maintains a swift physicality throughout, playing four separate roles (Jason, Tutor, Creon and Aegeus) and pacing the stage when not in scenes in slow motion, one of the finer effects of the show by a sharp Dominic Cooke. Ben also does camp in perhaps a cheaper way of showing he’s playing another role, though his meaty, angular stature and presence throughout are appealing. The show is not afraid to shy away from Medea’s actions and the final double infanticide of her very own kids is deeply troubling. This Greek tragedy always gets us asking questions.
Whilst a water feature of storm rain is discovered earlier in the show by a few renegade droplets, the show goes without a hitch. Marion Bailey as the Nurse is absorbing, all sympathy and exhaustion. These Women of Corinth who sit amid and around the audience are finely handled by Jo McInnes, Amy Trigg and Penny Layden. Hats off to the theatre for also including an actor in a wheelchair to be a part of the show with ease and care.
The uncluttered design by Vicky Mortimer and the subtle sound work from Gareth Fry add gravity to the unbearable dread and anticipation of the terror about to unfold.
It runs till 22 April
Review: James Ellis Photo: Johan Persson