Antigone at Bristol Old Vic’s Weston Studio is based on the Ancient Greek tragedy by Sophocles. It tells the story of a young girl’s battle to preserve her family’s honour.
After Antigone’s dead brother Polynices is declared a traitor and banned from being buried inside the city walls by Kreon, her uncle and the king of Thebes, she sets out on a determined fight for justice.
This performance by The Bristol Old Vic Young Company, inspired by a translation by Canadian poet Anne Carson, is a very impressive 75-minute show.
It’s an intense story and the production manages to keep the intensity flowing through clever use of lighting and an atmospheric score.
The cast runs in between the aisles at a fast pace in the intimate studio theatre which means the audience remains on the edge of their seats while following the action.
The quirky members of the chorus, who narrate parts of the story and interact with the characters, also sit amongst the audience for much of the show which is a nice touch.
Alex Dickinson is superb as the dictatorial king and was quite scary at times!
Liana Cottrill impresses too as Antigone and communicates really well the fearlessness of the girl forging ahead with her brother’s funeral even if it means her own death.
The Bristol Old Vic Young Company, which works with budding actors aged 5-25, is such a great initiative and the young people on stage in this show were brilliant.
Writing in the programme, director Maisie Newman relates how she watched the cast rehearse the day after the general election: “I listened to their anger at those in power, to those older than them who were deciding their future and at their frustration for feeling like they had no say.
“But no hope had been lost. There was only fire.”
That fire is definitely on show in this production and in the current political climate, it couldn’t be more relevant.
Antigone runs at Bristol Old Vic until 11 January.
Images by Chelsey Cliff