Medea ★★★★★ @sohoplace I Feb 10 - Apr 22, 2023

The horrifying story of Medea's vengeance on her faithless lover, Jason, has fascinated people since classical times. On the most basic level this is simply the tale of a woman scorned who then exacts a horrific penalty for her betrayal. However for the Greeks, Medea represents much more. She is the power of a dark, barbarian world of magic, an implacable and uncompromising force of raw emotion and untamed nature. She offers a terrifying look into a side of humanity that stands in stark contrast to the enlightened, civilised values of Greek rationalism and pragmatism. It is, probably this universal and elemental quality of her character that continues to enthral audiences today, but as compelling as an archetypal story might be, it is not always easy to portray. Sophie Okonedo does a splendid job of embodying the larger-than-life sorceress who has bewitched and now seeks to destroy her paramour. She manages to exude charisma and a raging passion without ever falling into the histrionic. Similarly, Ben Daniels is quite extraordinary in the multiple male roles of Jason, Creon, the Tutor and Aegeus. His individuation of each character is a masterclass in the art of acting. The production is beautifully staged and directed and the placement of the Chorus in the audience succeeds in bringing the observers into the narrative, making us participants in the story's sense of impending doom. Indeed, top marks to Director Dominic Cooke, Designer Vicki Mortimer and all of the team who have contributed to this captivating production. Both cast and creatives release the full power of Euripides' masterpiece.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Johan Persson.

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