Oedipus – Sophocles – National Theatre 2008

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Thoughts.

The thing I liked most about this production was not the lead part, but Alan Howard – playing the blind Teiresias – what a lovely performance. He’s marvellous to watch, quirky, interesting and slurring his way through the text.

Oedipus by Sophocles – a new version by Frank McGuinness.

The people of Thebes look to Oedipus to lift their city from a terrible curse. When he consults the oracle he discovers he must find out who has killed the late king… his search ends in tragedy as he stands to face the truth and his own savage conclusion.

This is a modern dress, 9-5 city job affair set upon a bold simple set by Paul Brown, comprising of a bronze cupped floor , large bench table and chairs and the large bronze door that towers the rest of the stage. It’s rather clever when you watch it carefully, how the floor and door slowly revolve throughout the play but the bench remains in it’s starting position. (tick for the technical team)

Ralph Fiennes’ Oedipus was less appealing, I did not warm to the character who was played as an arrogant, rather cold man, so when later he suffers it was somehow hard to care. nicely directed by Jonathan Kent, though Ralph seemed to have his back to me for a large parts of the performance – was it something I said. There were some strong performances by Clare Higgins as Jocasta and Jasper Britton as Creon, both heart felt in the realisation of the truth.

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