Critical round-up

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The Independent Culture
LES ATRIDES

Robin Mills, Bradford

' . . . while the company retains its theatre populaire trade mark of festivity and avoidance of personal psychology, it is otherwise unrecognisable. In its early days it had something urgent to say. Now, judging from the first part of the Atrean cycle, it is offering a high cultural experience . . . In terms of multi-cultural synthesis and sheer stage-craft, this is a breathtaking event; but at the price of substituting generalised emotion for the specific moral indignation for which posterity has valued Euripides.' Irving Wardle, Independent on Sunday.

'I harrumphed at first at the operatic acting style of the company's half-dozen principals, an overblown, posturing, gestural sort of performance that went out of fashion in this country several generations ago. But even though my rusty O-level French didn't follow every word of the dialogue, I was gradually mesmerised and eventually enthralled by the emotional boldness and physical daring of it all.' Robin Thornber, Guardian.

'All those who brave the extreme heat and humidity of (Mnouchkine's) ad hoc auditorium will be rewarded with a stunning blend of the sparsely human and the sumptuously mythic. If this is sweated labour . . . let us have more of it.' Benedict Nightingale, Times.

'Costumes, movement, music all show elements of numerous idioms. But if you've seen kabuki theatre or Indian dance or any of a dozen other styles recently, you can't help seeing how merely cute the Theatre du Soleil's use of them is.' Alistair Macaulay, Financial Times.

(Photograph omitted)

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