C Cubed, Edinburgh
August, 2002

***** Beautiful, intelligent, moving rewrite of Greek tragedy

This show redeemed a grindingly long, dull five-show day for me. It's far from cheerful stuff, but the quality is glorious.

The company, from York University, have "freely adapted" Euripides' tragedy in which Queen Hecuba of Troy, her daughter Cassandra and daughter-in-law Andromache are gathered together after the fall of the city to await the news of how the victorious Greeks will treat them. On a set composed largely of wooden palettes, old suitcases and half-forgotten relics, they wait and speculate.

Director Tom Cooper and Bridget Collins (who plays Andromache) have not only updated the language but also convey the sensation of waiting in dread, of being on the cusp of something huge but unknown, beautifully. Collins, Natasha Harrison as Cassandra and Frances Bucknall as Hecuba turn in careful, feeling, expertly nuanced performances that never feel too big for the intimate studio space. There are occasional echoes of Chekhov and Beckett, but nothing ostentatious. All in all, this is precisely the kind of little gem of a discovery that makes the Fringe a worthwhile experience.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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