There is no let-up in Richard Hillier’s dark , intense revival of Sophocles’ ELECTRA. As we walk down the narrow hallway to the theatre we are confronted, on either side, with women dressed in black robes moaning against the walls. After the late arrivals have finally taken their seats, the show begins with a fully combustible Electra (Amy Scott) vowing to take revenge on her mother Clytemnestra (Cat Martin) for having slain her father. Electra’s main hope is that her baby brother Orestes (Nathaniel Scotcher), now a grown man, will return from far away, where she has hidden him, to help her to exact a bloody, merciless revenge.
ELECTRA is a challenging experience to sit through as the action steadily escalates to its bloody climax…especially in what is essentially a very tiny theatre space. The set is bare, apart from the walls and floor marked with black and grey flecks. Deft stage lighting saw the actors cast long shadows against the walls. The play’s most gruesome actions took place off stage, a choice that worked well.
Rose Maher, Naomi Livingstone and Emily Elise played the three Women of Argos. Sympathetic to Electra’s cause, they also commentated on the action, giving very physical performances and even sometimes supplying a bit of a soundtrack- such as when they flailed their arms against the walls to mimic the sound of galloping horses.
The main performances were strong. Amy Scott is a fierce, explosive Electra, Cat Martin is a spiteful and vindictive Clytemnestra, Nicole Wineberg is Electra’s more hesitant sister, Chrysothemis, and Orestes is a very virile Orestes. Dominic McDonald played the dual roles of Aegisthus, a little understated, and the Messenger.
This take no prisoners revenge drama hurtled straight through for an unrelenting hour and twenty minutes.
No White Elephant’s production of Sophocles’ ELECTRA opened at the Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst on Wednesday 5th June and runs until Saturday June 15, 2013.