Dominating Medea

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Delia's papers contain a clipping of a newspaper article reviewing the opening night of the play Medea for which she created sound.


Dominating Medea

A mesh of steel glitters over the stage of the Greenwich Theatre, at once spider's web and devouring vulture. David Thompson's version of “Medea” which opened on April 14, is like a monstrous jungle which reduces all who penetrate it to the status of helpless victims. Its language is taut and intelligent, and the story moves with great pace to its mystical climax.

The chorus is reduced to three women who move like moths in black chasubles. Horror broods over even the stabs of humour, so that we are constantly reminded that this is a play about the stateless — about exiles. Katharine Blake dominated as Medea, so caught in her need to express herself in an alien world that she officiates at the cruellest of murders like the anointed priestess of a religion as old as time. Denys Hawthorne's Jason cannot stand against her, nor the civilised king of Ewan Hooper.

Medea's costumes are fantastical as the sexual esctasy in which she writhes at the news of her rival's death, first the fluttering of dragonfly blue-green, then like a monstrous scarlet flower, crested with hair, then black like marsh slime and finally the apotheosis gleaming white with great wings as goddess of death. Annette Battam's music matches — it rings like the last strumming of over-stretched nerves; it takes great strength of theatre to hold a modern audience for two hours without an interval.




New translation by David Thompson of the “Medea” of Euripides. Presented at Greenwich Theatre in April 14. Designed by Roger Butlin, with costumes by Digby Howard and music by Annette Battam. Stage manager: Malcolm Ranson.
Medea: Katharine Blake
Jason: Denys Hawthorne
Creon: Ewan Hooper
Other players: Freda Dowie, Annette Battam, Rosemary Towler, Gudrun Ure, Sam Williams, David Kearney.

Directed by David Thompson