( Featured image and promotional images by Artemis Green @ artymess )
TW: Rape mention.
As a bit of a departure from the topics I usually cover in my blog, I’m happy to announce I’ve been given the opportunity to write about something I am passionate about (good theatre), combined with something I’m even more passionate about (good feminist theatre).So here is my complete rave review (and I do mean a complete rave review) of Medusa, presented by Magnetic North Theatre Company as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival.
(Image by Artemis Green)
“This devised work challenges the monster hood rape victims inherit when they accuse their abuser…”
Written and directed by the ridiculously talented Artemis Green this incredible piece of theatre was captivating from start to finish. The use of the space, the performance of the actors, and the set and lighting design were all equally stunning.
I’m not going to lie, I am always very wary of modern takes on Greek tragedies and myths as I find that they struggle to find relevance to today’s society, often trying that bit too hard. But with Medusa I was pleasantly surprised, it rang terrifyingly true to todays society, and I was completely entranced by every aspect of the production.
When you first enter the space you are engulfed by whimsy and magic (thanks largely to Tiff Lane, the production Designer). From setting foot in the lane way to the performance itself you are surrounded gorgeous, breathtaking art. The lane way was honestly incredible, with one side piled high with treasures and keepsakes, and the other covered with white lace and pages of books it was something directly out of a fairytale. The whimsy is stripped away once the performance begins, with hushed tone the narrator character (played expertly by Sam Zell) entices you into the world of gods, and the story of Medusa.
Medusa, played by Brodie Shelley, was a commanding presence on the stage using her physicality and voice to portray the characters vulnerability. Athena the goddess of war (Maddy Parkinson), was just a complete goddess tbh, with her impeccable use of restraint the slow build to the characters pivotal scene was exciting and the subtlety and nuances used made for an extremely believable performance. Perseus (Aka Joseph Wilson) brought (even more) energy and life to the performance with his commitment to his role, his interactions and relationships with the other characters created some beautiful moments on the stage. Andy Green was disgusting, scary, and confronting in his dangerous overtly masculine portrayal of the character Poseidon, in other words he acted the role with conviction and added yet another level of fear, intimidation, and suspense to this already thrilling show.
Every performer in the cast was noteworthy, every aspect of this show was noteworthy. The ensemble and stage manager (Erin Williamson) work together seamlessly to create a seriously heart wrenching performance, and bring to life an expertly written script.
If you only see one piece of theatre this year, please let it be this one. It starts and contributes to the conversations around victim blaming, and is an important and much needed piece of theatre. It’s easy to watch the shows that make you laugh, it’s important to watch the shows that make you think, and Medusa does just that.
**Trigger warning for rape, and violence**