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Review of Hecuba at RSC Swan Theatre

Hecuba Derbhle Crotty as Hecuba and Ray Fearon as Agamemnon in Hecuba.
Derbhle Crotty as Hecuba and Ray Fearon as Agamemnon in Hecuba.
Photo by Topher McGrillis

This new version of Hecuba is written by Irish writer Marina Carr. There have been many new versions of Greek plays produced recently; Medea at the National and the Almeida’s recent season of Greeks. This new version is very different. The majority of the text is narrative. The characters narrate the story to us interspersed with small sections of dialogue.

The play opens with Derbhle Crotty’s Hecuba in her late husband’s throne monologuing about the recent war and sitting surrounded by the bodies of her children. Enter Ray Fearon’s Agamemnon. The two actors play off each other very well and both give stunning performances.

However, considering this new plays’ main individuality is its narrative text, both Crotty and Fearon are stronger during sections of interactive text.

Erica Whyman’s elegant staging of the play works surprising well with the style of the text. Often when the characters are describing physical actions, they aren’t shown. It takes a while as an audience member to get used to this and not until the execution of Polyxena does the play move up a level. This is without doubt the biggest moment of the play and is done fairly stylistically. It is the strongest moment in the text and proves the most memorable moment.

Special mention must go to Nadia Albina’s Cassandra. She gives an outstanding performance as Hecuba’s daughter and it is wonderful to see her back at the RSC after Merchant of Venice and Othello.

An oddly written version of the story, simply and beautifully staged, and performed effortlessly.

3 Star Review

Review by Elliott Wallis

The story of Hecuba | Royal Shakespeare Company

Hecuba is an ancient Greek tragedy originally written by Euripides around 424 BC. This version is by Marina Carr.

Cast and Creatives
David Ajao – Nepotolemus
Nadia Albina – Cassandra
Derbhle Crotty – Hecuba (pictured)
Ray Fearon – Agamemnon
Edmund Kingsley – Polymestor
Amy McAllister – Polyxena
Chu Omambala – Odysseus
Lara Stubbs – Xenia/Singer

Director – Erica Whyman
Designer – Soutra Gilmour
Lighting – Charles Balfour
Music – Isobel Waller-Bridge
Sound – Andrew Franks
Movement – Ayse Tashkiran

Swan Theatre
17th September – 17th October 2015

Wednesday 30th September 2015


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