A woman whose husband has left her and whose prospects are bleak. A woman who can’t work or sleep, who struggles to simple exist due to the all consuming range of bitter emotions she feels. A woman who is plotting revenge.
Despite the classical origins of Euripides’ Greek tragedy, this story of a heartbroken woman still resonates in the modern world. Writer and director Mike Bartlett manages, through expert adaptation of the original text to combine witty, sarcastic humour with the tragic tale that audiences have come to expect. Set against a backdrop of a small suburban town, Medea serves not only to shock and to appall audiences, but to raise moral questions and attempt to answer them. It makes us question our own actions, and to witness the result of human emotion stretched too far. In the title role, Rachael Stirling is almost uncomfortably convincing, portraying perfectly the malice, sorrow and desperation, while managing to pull off the black humour that has been added in this new adaptation. All of the cast members seemed suited to their roles, and it was interesting to see how each of them reacted to the climactic events that close the play. A nod must also go to the set design by Ruari Murchison, which brought a two story house, complete with bedrooms, a kitchen and flat screen television to the stage, the perfect setting for a modern adaptation.
In conclusion? Go and see this play. This is a production that exudes human understanding and more than anything is frank, honest and engaging. I’d say it’s even worth going just to witness the final, shocking scene of the production. A must-see.