Tag Archives: Sophocles

Review of Ajax – 3.5 Stars



The Space

Reviewed – 5th December 2017

★★★ ½

“a streamlined and well-paced production”


Pulling off Greek tragedy for a modern audience, and especially one not versed in its conventions, is hard. Aside from the issue of translation, the presence of gods as characters, the heavily gendered and misogynistic stereotypes, and the unfamiliar device of the chorus can all be alienating. This production successfully navigates most of these pitfalls, with some excellent performances and a modern, idiomatic translation by James Kerr.

The hyper-masculine world of the Greek camp in the Trojan war is replaced by an all-female one in what is, according to the programme, meant to be the near future. There’s a disappointing lack of sense of cohesive time or place, but the claustrophobic community and stress and trauma of battle are clearly portrayed. This is aided by the small ensemble of only six, many doubling roles.

The ever-difficult problem of what to do with the chorus is managed well; the soldiers discuss events amongst themselves and sing in some sections, echoing the delivery of the main performance. Erica Martin’s central performance as Ajax is accomplished, though it occasionally wants a little more depth, and a greater sense of her position on the brink of sanity would be welcome. Her wife Tecmessa (Noga Flashion) is the only human woman in the original Greek, and here gives us a dose of traditional femininity. The remaining actors all form both the chorus and the more minor roles. Ajax’s sister Teucer (Fay Jagger) is striking in her portrayal of grief, and Comfort Fabian makes a good Odysseus, controlled and assured for the most part, but with suggestions of greater depths that we do not see. Laura Trosser is both the goddess Athena and Ajax’s daughter Eurysaces. The cast is completed by Rudzani Moleya, who gives an excellent though brief performance as Agamemnon, capturing the character’s arrogance with its edge of petulance.

Director Maria Makenna has kept most of the production simple, with minimalistic sets. There are occasional missteps, such as Eurysaces’ unnecessary flailing around on the floor while the audience enters, but these are outweighed by the rest of the otherwise streamlined and well-paced production. This is an innovative version of an underperformed play, with an emotional core that really hits home.


Reviewed by Juliet Evans

Photography by Elissa Morton




is at The Space until 10th December


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