Skip to main content

Iphigenia in Splott

Pleasance Dome
Five stars

Don't mess with Effie, the hard-nosed, hard-drinking, shag-happy heroine of Gary Owen's blazing reinvention of Greek myth that bursts onto the streets of Cardiff with a lust for life that matches Effie's motor-mouthed and alco-popped libido. Into the Friday night mess Effie meets a squaddie war veteran whose leg has been blown off in action. This doesn't prevent Effie from getting pregnant following their one-night stand that leads ultimately to tragedy by way of an ill-equipped ambulance that crashes while rushing her to an even worse resourced hospital.

Laced throughout with a ferocious back-street Cardiffian poetry, Owen's play is brought to brawling life in Rachel O'Riordan's ferocious production for Cardiff's Sherman Cymru. A stunning Sophie Melville strides through the littered striplights of Hayley Grindle's set as they pulse into life or else black out like a stopped heart machine.

As with most of us, it's only when the worst happens that we're kick-started into action, and Effie's everyday radicalisation comes with her final words which, accompanied by a piercingly defiant stare, suggests revenge is coming. In this way, Effie is the personification of a society that isn't going to put up with austerity-led public sector cuts anymore, and the thugs currently attempting to vandalise the NHS and Britain's welfare state into submission should be very scared indeed.

The Herald, August 31st 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…