Oedipus, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
Thursday 18 August 2011
Steven Berkoff's utterly distinctive new version of the Sophocles tragedy is like a well-oiled machine grinding towards death and destruction. Berkoff himself plays Creon, taking control as the vehicle skids off the road and Oedipus loses the sat nav.
Blindness and post-apocalyptic fall-out are the great metaphorical themes, from the Greeks through King Lear to Beckett, and this show covers the waterfront in imagery and irony: the blind prophet Tiresias (Alister O'Loughlin) sees the future in a parched, sepulchral voice; and, seeing his own incestuous predicament, Simon Merrells's Oedipus gouges out his eyes with his mother Jocasta's decorative brooch.
Berkoff provides a mimetic scenario to the Sophoclean narrative, and a Zorba-like balalaika dance for the choric village elders. The city of Thebes is reduced to the microcosm of a close-knit fishing village.
Michael Vale's ochre landscape and Mike Robertson's forensic lighting create an intense crucible and Berkoff's Expressionistic style, and Cockney idiom, operate like a Greek mask, conveying the unbearable with stylised ghastliness.
Anita Dobson's tragedy queen of a Jocasta floats like an apparition, wrists gesticulating while the thrum of the inevitable gathers volume.
To 29 August (0131 556 6550)
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Sedaris: What I learnt from Fitbit about the world around me
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: 'It's only rape if the victim is conscious'
- 5 Katie Hopkins in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Star Wars Episode 7: Game of Thrones actor Miltos Yerolemou joins cast
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain