Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Antigone

Adrian Osmond, adapted from Sophocles
Lung Ha's Theatre Company & NYOS: Futures
Traverse, Edinburgh

Nicola Tuxworth as Antigone Credit: Photo by Douglas Jones Photography

A short and to the point version of Sophocles' tragedy, with a strong musical presence from the members of National Youth Orchestras of Scotland: Futures. Musicians and actors mixed on the stage amongst the thin pale drapes that formed the set.

Antigone is a simple story, only a few main characters and the plot revolves around Antigone (Nicola Tuxworth) and her uncle Creon (Sean Hay). The backstory is given the hue of history by being shown through a screen. The set and costumes give a hint of Ancient Greece but also reflect the timeless nature of play's central conflict.

Kenneth Dempster's score heightens the drama, it allows the ensemble to show some of the story physically with several dance pieces between the dialogue. Also physically having the musicians on the stage added to the drama, as the arrival of a musician on stage such as french horn player Joe Boyd would anticipate the mood of the scene to come. There were in fact only five musicians on stage but they added a great deal to the piece.

The ensemble work well together with everyone being very involved. John Edgar as Teiresias is wheelchair bound but he was assisted by other cast members and through pre-recorded dialogue he is able to deliver a fine performance on stage.

What this production made me realise is how much the disabled are airburshed out of drama both on stage and on screen, making what you are watching a slightly distorted view of reality. With Antigone there is a really mixed chorus commenting on the action, giving a sense of honesty.

Honesty is at the heart of Antigone with the eponymous lead staying true to her convictions and not being swayed by the more practical utilitarianism of Creon. Tuxworth gives plenty of strength to the young, headstrong Antigone and shows how a seemingly quite powerless can wield a lot of power.

It does sound rather cheesy, but I think it is fair to say that this is an empowering production. A great display of hard work and honesty that really fits with the story.

Reviewer: Seth Ewin