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Oedipus

Liverpool Playhouse
February 18 - March 12

Author: Steven Berkoff (after Sophocles)
Director: Steven Berkoff
Producer: Liverpool and Nottingham Playhouse
Cast Includes: Simon Merrells, Louise Jameson, Vincenzo Nicoli, Eoin McCarthy,   Mark Frost, Anthony Barclay.

Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins

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Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

Ultimately the drama of Oedipus should be enough not to require gimmicks and although Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus is an interesting experience, it is one that perhaps could have been helped by a little less telling and lot more showing.

There is, afterall, something quite beguiling in the sin that makes up the story of Oedipus. Something that takes audiences to the darkness within and holds them captive. So, with this in mind and with Berkoff at the helm, this production has the feel of the tantalisingly illicit and, for the most part, so it transpires.

Simon Merrells in the title role is a commanding presence on a stage dominated by a vast oak table which on occasion makes the action a little static. Vincenzo Nicoli as Oedipus’ brother-in-law, Creon, stamps his mark upon the role with a display that is captivating, endearing and, finally, disturbing. Louise Jameson’s Jocasta is an enticingly self-aware queen which, when placed in opposition to the blatant vanity of the man she has taken for her husband, works surprisingly well, despite some moments of weakness in delivery.

And yet, for all this dynamism, there are times when the drama becomes diluted by some pseudo-physical dance elements which see the ensemble gasping or laughing or glaring in slow motion accentuated by a musical score ranging from traditional Greek to old time Parisian. Some of this works, but most of it doesn’t and instead detracts from the power of the point being made.

Although the lighting adds magnificently to the ambience, overall the audience is left feeling that a lot more could have been done to accentuate the dramatic eloquence of the writing, and so imbue a sense of wonder on those who witness its dramatic prowess, rather than leaving them with a sense of puzzlement.

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website
www.everymanplayhouse.com


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