The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon

Jamie Wilkes

Jethro Compton

C nova

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

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Relocated to an abandoned bunker at an undisclosed place and time during the Great War, the timeless story of a loathed husband returning from war has been taken and adapted into something new.

The two nameless soldiers stumble into the bunker, the officer wounded and bleeding, the soldier frantic and afraid. They are deserters both, and lost behind the lines. From here the dying man begins to hallucinate the figure of his wife, dancing and singing.

It's no surprise that this merging of the classical and the modern come from the minds of two members of Belt Up Theatre, with Jethro Compton directing Jamie Wilkes script. As such, expect to see the bare bones of the original works twisted and manipulated into something new and brilliant, even down to the incredible staging, with the play taking place within a room entirely transformed into a trench bunker. There in the oppressive atmosphere with the dust and dirt in the air, the play adds an authenticity to the mystery and growing tragedy of the tale.

The four-strong cast are individually exemplary in their hugely contrasting roles, with James Marlowe and Serena Manteghi carrying the weight of the piece as the first loving then loathing couple, while capable support is given in the form of Sam Donnelly as the doggedly loyal soldier, and Dan Wood's asthmatic home guard volunteer, slowly falling in love with his cousin's lonely wife.

Needless to say for such a classic play, the outcome is not the importance; what is of far more import is that the journey there is never less than gripping, as the audience is pulled from smiles and laughter to shock and tears through a tale that offers far more than the bare moralising of the play upon which it has been wrought.