Iphigenia (A Rave Fable)

 Iphigenia (A Rave Fable)

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 30th July 2017

 

“fringe theatre at its best”

 

Iphigenia (A Rave Fable) is a Brechtian acid trip like no other. Giving voice to the sidelined daughter of Agamemnon, (sacrificed by her father for the good of the country in the original Greek play, Iphigenia in Aulis) Clumsy Bodies Theatre’s adaptation allows Iphigenia a story that is truly her own, from her own perspective, recontextualised seamlessly within the Juarez Cuidad Murders.

As with most classical adaptations, knowledge of the original text is useful. However, the piece avoids the pitfalls of necessitating previous knowledge by bringing the audience unbroken accessibility through the clarity of its context and narrative. Updating Brechtian devices through multimedia signposting, multi-roling and stylised gesture, the style of the piece is clearly politicised and distant from the emotional trappings of more naturalist drama.

Performances were energetic and well-characterised, with the difficult language handled effortlessly by the company. Credit must go to Sara Jewell (Violeta Imperial), whose nuanced performance provides a more intimate human connection with the audience.

This piece holds the seed of a spectacular fringe show, but requires further development to truly bring its own perspective to Brecht’s foundations. The distancing machinations of the Brechtian work could be further exposed and prioritised, and could be offset further with more broken and connected performances. Due to the lack of connection between performer and audience that was forced by the end-on staging, Iphigenia occasionally lacked the stakes that its narrative requires.

Overall, the piece was fringe theatre at its best, with jarring physicality and an engaging and inspiring political narrative, let down only by the restraints of its conception. This reviewer is left hoping that Iphigenia has earned a transfer at a more inclusive performance space, to allow the growth and connection that the piece has the potential to provide.

 

Reviewed by Tasmine Airey

Photography by Victor Pãtrãşcan

 

 

Iphigenia (A Rave Fable)

is due to appear at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe

 

 

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