Review: Women of Troy, Blue Elephant ***

Lazarus Theatre Company have taken a weighty and disconsolate play, which calls for a large ensemble and packed it rather neatly into one hour and ten minutes. There is a healthy and clear force of feminine strength throughout the production, initiated by a fierce movement sequence climaxing in the sixteen-strong body of females facing us, stamping and chanting like a group of tribal women.

Strength is a powerful quality to see on stage but it becomes stagnant and one-sided here, as there is little variation in the playing of it. There is a much needed change when Cassandra, played by Kerrian Burton, enters the space. Burton is curiously awkward, brash and physically flaccid. This is apt for her character but also beneficial for the production, as it helps to give contrast to the thus far unwavering rigidness.

Nearing the end of the piece, Ina Marie Smith gives an emotional performance as Andromache, reacting very naturally and genuinely to extreme situations that are difficult to empathise with.

Ricky Dukes has directed a robust performance of this heavily burdened play

The group camaraderie does grow during the production, which at times can be touching to watch, but one of the more challenging aspects of this play is having such a sizable cast in the space for the entire duration whilst keeping the energy levels matched, and in a state of promptitude. There are times when this production grips and moves its audience, but it is not quite consistent enough.

There is some suitably dramatic lighting from Alex Musgrave and sound effects from Nick Kent which help compound the feelings of isolation and oppression of these women; accompanied by grounded voices and a clear portrayal of text, it is fair to say that Ricky Dukes has directed a robust performance of this heavily burdened play.

*** 3 stars
Runs until 14th April
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