A quick review tonight as I've had a busy week and not enough sleep; you can also take that as a disclaimer that I may be being a bit harsh on the production. Timberlake Wertenbaker's new translation of Euripides' Hippolytus is excellent - while keeping the metre and feel of Greek tragedy it also flows very naturally, best exemplified by Ann Penfold's misguided Nurse, the standout performance tonight. It's a shame that Mike Tweddle's production often seems at odds with the feel of the text - where Wertenbaker's text is hugely visceral, the production is strangely bloodless, not only metaphorically but also literally, as after the lengthy description of Hippolytus' gruesome fate, he's brought back on stage with his costume still pristine. There's also some frankly bizarre casting choices, none more so than Katherine Tozer, a Phaedra who actually appears younger than the stepson she lusts after. Tozer also mangles the playwright's fluid blank verse with her stilted line readings. On the plus side, Tweddle's use of the chorus is exemplary - weaving them perfectly into the action rather than as observers at a distance, and making their inaction when Hippolytus is falsely accused seem all the more egregious. In all, a decently performed production, marred a bit by some odd directorial decisions I couldn't quite fathom.
Hippolytus by Euripides in a translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker is booking until the 7th of March at the Greenwich Theatre.