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Posts Tagged ‘Lu Corfield’

I can’t remember when I last experienced such an intense hour of drama. Vicky Jones’ play is original, unpredictable, shocking and edgy. I was enthralled.

Jo lives with slightly older Harry, who once taught her (no, it’s not about that!). We’re with them for just one night whilst they’re waiting for news of Jo’s sister, who is about to give birth. They are visited twice by Kerry wanting to talk about her abuse at the hands of her partner Bradley. Throughout the night they spar, fight, tease and trick each other, playing sexual and psychological games.

You never know when it’s truth or lies, real or faked, playful or hurtful. There’s an extraordinary energy and tension about it that grips you from the off and never lets go. It’s also very funny, but after you’ve laughed you often feel guilty that you did laugh, making you feel complicit in their games.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has become one of the finest actors around and here she’s mesmerising. Rufus Wright is a great sparring partner and Lu Corfield contrasts and complements them. It’s played on a clever elevated stage like a boxing ring, designed by Anthony Lamble, and Steve Marmion’s direction is masterly.

A great, unmissable new play

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I’m partial to a bit of Greek tragedy and Medea is one of my favourites. I’ve seen at least one operatic version, one in Japanese in the open air in the pouring rain (wonderful, by the way) and I’ve lost count of how many on stage, though the most memorable was with Diana Rigg at the Almeida 20 years ago. So there I was in Richmond Theatre watching her daughter, Rachael Stirling,  in Headlong Theatre’s very up-to-date version.

The story is surprisingly intact (though Medea and Jason only have one child). King Creon is her landlord Carter who seeks to evict her rather than send her into exile. The nurse, chorus and Aegeus are all neighbours. By the time Jason returns from his fateful wedding to the landlord’s daughter, she has killed his son and is on the roof of their blazing terraced house (substitute for flying chariot!). Mike Bartlett (who also directs) has produced an excellent and (almost) completely plausible adaptation.

Rachel Stirling is superb as Medea. She looks like her mother, but that’s about the only similarity with the Medea I saw when she was just 15. There were moments when I had to turn my head; the intensity of her performance really drew me in to the character and her story. There’s luxury casting in the supporting roles with Amelia Lowdell and Lu Corfield as bitchy neighbours Pam and Sarah, Paul Shelley as Andrew (Aegeus), Christopher Ettridge as Carter (Creon) and Adam Levy as Jason.

An excellent fresh take on a 2500 year old play, but you’ll have to go to Exeter to see it before the tour ends next week!

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