Written by Jean Anouilh, Translated by Barbara Bray
Directed by Andy Kerr and Brigitta Bende
Liverpool Network Theatre Group
Community College Arts Centre, Myrtle Street
10th-11th February 2006

Reviewed by Lib Murray

Jean Anouilh’s version of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone tells the story of a young girl’s defiance in the face of death. After her two brothers have killed each other, Antigone goes against the express command of Creon - her uncle and king of Thebes - by burying her brother’s body. Creon is left with no choice, and condemns Antigone to death.

Antigone was first performed in Paris during 1944, and the idea of standing fast by one’s beliefs was seen to reflect the French resistance to Nazi occupation. The play’s key strength comes from Anouilh’s creation of complex characters rather than simply wheeling out stock villains. The crux of the piece is the scene in which Creon gives his niece every chance to escape death. He goes onto explain that as king he has no power…he is simply led by the will of people.

The play is also filled with a poetic language that conjures up a vast array of rich images, some of them eerily beautiful - such as Antigone’s description of the early morning sky when she crept out to bury her brother - and others starkly tragic - like the Chorus’ account of the deaths of Antigone, Haemon - her fiancée and Creon’s son - and Eurydice, Queen of Thebes.

From the Prologue (performed by Steve Dickson) Antigone (played by Lora Pilling) is bound to death. As is the way with tragedy, there is no escape once the first domino falls. This was a good ensemble performance from the cast, and, on the whole, the lighting emphasised the claustrophobic atmosphere of the play.

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