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Antigone

Kelvingrove, Glasgow
2 stars
As the tea-time bells of Glasgow University peal out, there’s a sense of civic foreboding surrounding Theatre Found’s open-air production of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, here seen in Robert Fagle’s 1984 verse translation. Because, while the fun-fair noises of The West End Festival blow across Kelvingrove Park and a junior disco dancing championship at the Kelvin Hall leads a queue to the ice-cream van, Antigone is revealed as the perfect outdoor play.

Set against the natural grandness of Kelvingrove Museum itself, Antigone explores the consequences of bad political decisions, as the feisty sister of the slain Polynieces attempts to bury her dead with dignity. As the emperor Creon condemns Antigone herself to death, despite being betrothed to his son, Haemon, Creon’s only legacy is the blood on his hands. More pertinent to the Sunday strollers is an instant recognition of how private tragedies spill out of such follies, watched over by the contemporary masses as they might idly skim over a weekend tabloid’s revelations of yet another ministerial scandal.

It’s a shame, then, that Carrie Westwater’s production, performed largely by graduates of Langside College without the range to deal with the elements, doesn’t take such intrigue in high places any further. After a promising opening, whereby a Messenger hands out flyers to the audience declaring the state of play onstage, performances which aren’t blown away end up unnecessarily overwrought.

A more intimate studio setting would obviously have left things less exposed. Then again, it would have also lost out on a natural big city ambience that not only tolled Antigone’s life away, but gave way to early evening sirens that readily suggested what happens next.

The Herald, June 19th 2007

ends

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