Iphigenia in Splott ★★★★ Lyric Hammersmith Theatre | Sep 26 - Oct 22, 2022

This is a one woman show that holds the audience's attention from the moment Sophie Melville walks onto the stage. It is a bravura performance that simply takes one's breath away. The energy and passion that Melville expends in her role as the outcast, Effie, is positively astounding. She brings a conviction and commitment to the part of this belligerent and betrayed social rebel that completely rivets one's attention. However, the decision to see Effie's story as an updating of the Iphigenia myth didn't always work for us. Her development from an aggressive and streetwise, self-described "slag" and "skank," to a self-sacrificing and politically aware potential revolutionary did not quite ring true. The transformation all happened rather quickly and the explanation for her metamorphosis seemed rather perfunctory. Gary Owen has created a compelling character whose story seemed a bit shoehorned into the narrative of her Greek counterpart. Rachel O'Riordan's direction is as taut as Effie's temper, and Hayley Grindle's set is suitably desolate and evocative. Ultimately however, the evening belongs to Sophie Melville. Iphigenia in Splott is an extraordinary display of acting prowess that merits the audience's standing ovation.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Jennifer McCord.

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