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Friday, 5 September 2014


As a Literature student. classical plays hold a special place in my heart. So when my parents booked tickets to see the National Theatre's production of Medea, words can't describe my excitement. Having studied it at A-Level, but never seen it on stage, I was so curious as to how they would interpret this classic. Medea is the epitome of a Greek tragedy - murder, betrayal, heartbreak, the works. Without giving away all the details, Medea depicts a woman's breakdown as a result of her husband's remarriage to the Princess of Corinth. Her desire for revenge is harrowing.
Like what happens on a pretty everyday basis, I had an absolute outfit crisis. I had nothing to wear. After trying on the contents of my wardrobe and leaving my clothes in a scrunched up heap on the floor, I finally decided on this cute mixing-textures combination. My trusty crochet top from Topshop's 2013 Spring collection and an Urban Outfitter's skirt from earlier this year. Paired with my battered black ankle boots, of course. Again, another wonderful Topshop investment buy that is now falling to pieces.
Post-wardrobe crisis, I was feeling pretty good about my choice and Mum and I drove to the National Theatre to meet my sister and her friend for the performance. Apart from this amazing production, the most exciting part of the night was the celebrity-spotting. Twiggy was there with her husband, looking every inch the fashion icon that she is. Ex-James Bond actor, Timothy Dalton made an appearance too. And Alice Eve sat directly in front of us - I found it very hard to keep my cool. I'm incredibly bad at putting on a poker face when I spot famous people. I'm one to keep smiling at them until they walk away - note my sighting of Fresh Meat's Charlotte Ritchie on the tube. It was also a gorgeous Autumn evening in London and I managed to sneak out and get a few pictures of St. Paul's before the performance started.
Once seated, I noticed that Medea's sons were already on stage - lying in front of the TV and playing amongst themselves. To those who know the play, this is heart-wrenching from the start. Like all the critics have said in their own separate reviews, Helen McCory's performance is captivating in its intensity. The animalistic and primal noises she's able to make were chilling. This really is a one-woman show. The stage itself was impressive, in that it was built to resemble a modern-day, run-down house, with a dark wooded area residing in the heart of the home. Perhaps to resemble Medea's corrupted home and domestic values. The chorus too, made up on Corinthian women, who pity Medea were effective in their own right. As Medea descends into madness, they begin to shake with her rage and descend into primal sounds and movements before regaining their elegance and poise.
This interpretation of such a well-known classical masterpiece was intriguing to watch. At times, it differed greatly from how I had understood the play when I studied it. For instance, I had read Medea as a more poised and calculating in her plans for revenge. Helen McCory completely challenged this reading in her erratic, primal, and frankly terrifying performance.  The production was just incredible. Helen McCory deserves all the praise she's already received and I imagine she'll win every performance under the sun for this harrowing interpretation. 

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