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Antigone (Susan Elkin reviews)


Sophocles, translated by Ian Johnston

Director Jayne Denny

Little Homma Productions

Brockley Jack Studio

Star rating: 4

Working with the largest cast (14 perfomers) I’ve ever seen at Brockley Jack Studio, this is an ambitious piece for this space. More and more actors keep appearing. But it works and never feels crowded. It is actually a pretty stylish piece of theatre.

Antigone is familiar territory, of course, but with its themes of tyranny, abuse of women, and standing up for what you know is right, it is always topical. This version includes mentions of Gods and other Greek references but is costumed for today with the Chorus as Creon’s watchful soldiers. Ian Johnston’s text provides some fairly formal Chorus lines but the dialogue is 21st century in flavour. Very much a play for our times, then.


The time-honoured story presents Creon as King refusing to allow a burial for his nephew, Polyneices whom he regards as a traitor. Antigone disobeys her Uncle’s edict because she wants decency for her dead brother. And the punishment for that is death.

Mark Homer is suitably chilling and determined as Creon who – despite what everyone around him eventually advises – cannot bring himself to climb down until its too late. It’s a convincing account of man heading for tragedy. Eleanor Homer (I presume they are father and daughter) finds brave passion in Antigone but she’s also terrified and that tension is well nuanced especially when we see soldiers silently raping her. Blake Heaven is strong as Creon’s son, Haemon who’s in love with Antigone and there’s an enjoyable cameo from Eveline Reynolds-Boison (imaginatively supported by Lucy Ellis and Kirsty Yeung’s lighting design) as Tiresias the prophet.

The Chorus, which includes some actors who double in other roles, is deftly directed and the story telling as clear as it could be. There’s a fair bit of silent movement work – effectively dance drama which underpins the narrative quite effectively.

All in all, this is an arresting and relevant take on Antigone – succinct at 80 minutes without interval – and I really liked the projected statistics about  present day abuse of women by men  on the back screen at the end.



Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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